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Title: The Odyssey of Homer

Author: Homer

Translator: William Cowper

Release Date: January 13, 2008 [EBook #24269]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8

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{Transcriber's note:

The spelling and hyphenation in the original are inconsistent, and have
not been changed. A few obvious typographical errors have been corrected,
as listed at the end of the etext.}




  THE ODYSSEY
  OF HOMER
  _Translated by_
  WILLIAM
  COWPER

  LONDON: PUBLISHED
  by J·M·DENT·&·SONS·LTD
  AND IN NEW YORK
  BY E·P·DUTTON & CO

  TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

  COUNTESS DOWAGER SPENCER

  THE FOLLOWING TRANSLATION OF THE ODYSSEY, A POEM
  THAT EXHIBITS IN THE CHARACTER OF ITS HEROINE
  AN EXAMPLE OF ALL DOMESTIC VIRTUE, IS WITH
  EQUAL PROPRIETY AND RESPECT INSCRIBED
  BY HER LADYSHIP'S MOST DEVOTED
  SERVANT, THE AUTHOR.




  THE ODYSSEY OF HOMER
  TRANSLATED INTO
  ENGLISH BLANK VERSE




BOOK I

ARGUMENT

In a council of the Gods, Minerva calls their attention to Ulysses, still
a wanderer. They resolve to grant him a safe return to Ithaca. Minerva
descends to encourage Telemachus, and in the form of Mentes directs him
in what manner to proceed. Throughout this book the extravagance and
profligacy of the suitors are occasionally suggested.


    Muse make the man thy theme, for shrewdness famed
    And genius versatile, who far and wide
    A Wand'rer, after Ilium overthrown,
    Discover'd various cities, and the mind
    And manners learn'd of men, in lands remote.
    He num'rous woes on Ocean toss'd, endured,
    Anxious to save himself, and to conduct
    His followers to their home; yet all his care
    Preserved them not; they perish'd self-destroy'd
    By their own fault; infatuate! who devoured                       10
    The oxen of the all-o'erseeing Sun,
    And, punish'd for that crime, return'd no more.
    Daughter divine of Jove, these things record,
    As it may please thee, even in our ears.
      The rest, all those who had perdition 'scaped
    By war or on the Deep, dwelt now at home;
    Him only, of his country and his wife
    Alike desirous, in her hollow grots
    Calypso, Goddess beautiful, detained
    Wooing him to her arms. But when, at length,                      20
    (Many a long year elapsed) the year arrived
    Of his return (by the decree of heav'n)
    To Ithaca, not even then had he,
    Although surrounded by his people, reach'd
    The period of his suff'rings and his toils.
    Yet all the Gods, with pity moved, beheld
    His woes, save Neptune; He alone with wrath
    Unceasing and implacable pursued
    Godlike Ulysses to his native shores.
    But Neptune, now, the Æthiopians fought,                          30
    (The Æthiopians, utmost of mankind,
    These Eastward situate, those toward the West)
    Call'd to an hecatomb of bulls and lambs.
    There sitting, pleas'd he banqueted; the Gods
    In Jove's abode, meantime, assembled all,
    'Midst whom the Sire of heav'n and earth began.
    For he recall'd to mind Ægisthus slain
    By Agamemnon's celebrated son
    Orestes, and retracing in his thought
    That dread event, the Immortals thus address'd.                   40
      Alas! how prone are human-kind to blame
    The Pow'rs of Heav'n! From us, they say, proceed
    The ills which they endure, yet more than Fate
    Herself inflicts, by their own crimes incur.
    So now Ægisthus, by no force constrained
    Of Destiny, Atrides' wedded wife
    Took to himself, and him at his return
    Slew, not unwarn'd of his own dreadful end
    By us: for we commanded Hermes down
    The watchful Argicide, who bade him fear                          50
    Alike, to slay the King, or woo the Queen.
    For that Atrides' son Orestes, soon
    As grown mature, and eager to assume
    His sway imperial, should avenge the deed.
    So Hermes spake, but his advice moved not
    Ægisthus, on whose head the whole arrear
    Of vengeance heap'd, at last, hath therefore fall'n.
      Whom answer'd then Pallas cærulean-eyed.
    Oh Jove, Saturnian Sire, o'er all supreme!
    And well he merited the death he found;                           60
    So perish all, who shall, like him, offend.
    But with a bosom anguish-rent I view
    Ulysses, hapless Chief! who from his friends
    Remote, affliction hath long time endured
    In yonder wood-land isle, the central boss
    Of Ocean. That retreat a Goddess holds,
    Daughter of sapient Atlas, who the abyss
    Knows to its bottom, and the pillars high
    Himself upbears which sep'rate earth from heav'n.
    His daughter, there, the sorrowing Chief detains,                 70
    And ever with smooth speech insidious seeks
    To wean his heart from Ithaca; meantime
    Ulysses, happy might he but behold
    The smoke ascending from his native land,
    Death covets. Canst thou not, Olympian Jove!
    At last relent? Hath not Ulysses oft
    With victims slain amid Achaia's fleet
    Thee gratified, while yet at Troy he fought?
    How hath he then so deep incensed thee, Jove?
      To whom, the cloud-assembler God replied.                       80
    What word hath pass'd thy lips, Daughter belov'd?
    Can I forget Ulysses? Him forget
    So noble, who in wisdom all mankind
    Excels, and who hath sacrific'd so oft
    To us whose dwelling is the boundless heav'n?
    Earth-circling Neptune--He it is whose wrath
    Pursues him ceaseless for the Cyclops' sake
    Polypheme, strongest of the giant race,
    Whom of his eye Ulysses hath deprived.
    For Him, Thoösa bore, Nymph of the sea                            90
    From Phorcys sprung, by Ocean's mighty pow'r
    Impregnated in caverns of the Deep.
    E'er since that day, the Shaker of the shores,
    Although he slay him not, yet devious drives
    Ulysses from his native isle afar.
    Yet come--in full assembly his return
    Contrive we now, both means and prosp'rous end;
    So Neptune shall his wrath remit, whose pow'r
    In contest with the force of all the Gods
    Exerted single, can but strive in vain.                          100
      To whom Minerva, Goddess azure-eyed.
    Oh Jupiter! above all Kings enthroned!
    If the Immortals ever-blest ordain
    That wise Ulysses to his home return,
    Dispatch we then Hermes the Argicide,
    Our messenger, hence to Ogygia's isle,
    Who shall inform Calypso, nymph divine,
    Of this our fixt resolve, that to his home
    Ulysses, toil-enduring Chief, repair.
    Myself will hence to Ithaca, meantime,                           110
    His son to animate, and with new force
    Inspire, that (the Achaians all convened
    In council,) he may, instant, bid depart
    The suitors from his home, who, day by day,
    His num'rous flocks and fatted herds consume.
    And I will send him thence to Sparta forth,
    And into sandy Pylus, there to hear
    (If hear he may) some tidings of his Sire,
    And to procure himself a glorious name.
      This said, her golden sandals to her feet                      120
    She bound, ambrosial, which o'er all the earth
    And o'er the moist flood waft her fleet as air,
    Then, seizing her strong spear pointed with brass,
    In length and bulk, and weight a matchless beam,
    With which the Jove-born Goddess levels ranks
    Of Heroes, against whom her anger burns,
    From the Olympian summit down she flew,
    And on the threshold of Ulysses' hall
    In Ithaca, and within his vestibule
    Apparent stood; there, grasping her bright spear,                130
    Mentes[1] she seem'd, the hospitable Chief
    Of Taphos' isle--she found the haughty throng
    The suitors; they before the palace gate
    With iv'ry cubes sported, on num'rous hides
    Reclined of oxen which themselves had slain.
    The heralds and the busy menials there
    Minister'd to them; these their mantling cups
    With water slaked; with bibulous sponges those
    Made clean the tables, set the banquet on,
    And portioned out to each his plenteous share.                   140
    Long ere the rest Telemachus himself
    Mark'd her, for sad amid them all he sat,
    Pourtraying in deep thought contemplative
    His noble Sire, and questioning if yet
    Perchance the Hero might return to chase
    From all his palace that imperious herd,
    To his own honour lord of his own home.
    Amid them musing thus, sudden he saw
    The Goddess, and sprang forth, for he abhorr'd
    To see a guest's admittance long delay'd;                        150
    Approaching eager, her right hand he seized,
    The brazen spear took from her, and in words
    With welcome wing'd Minerva thus address'd.
      Stranger, all hail! to share our cordial love
    Thou com'st; the banquet finish'd, thou shalt next
    Inform me wherefore thou hast here arrived.
      So saying, toward the spacious hall he moved,
    Follow'd by Pallas, and, arriving soon
    Beneath the lofty roof, placed her bright spear
    Within a pillar's cavity, long time                              160
    The armoury where many a spear had stood,
    Bright weapons of his own illustrious Sire.
    Then, leading her toward a footstool'd throne
    Magnificent, which first he overspread
    With linen, there he seated her, apart
    From that rude throng, and for himself disposed
    A throne of various colours at her side,
    Lest, stunn'd with clamour of the lawless band,
    The new-arrived should loth perchance to eat,
    And that more free he might the stranger's ear                   170
    With questions of his absent Sire address,
    And now a maiden charg'd with golden ew'r,
    And with an argent laver, pouring first
    Pure water on their hands, supplied them, next,
    With a resplendent table, which the chaste
    Directress of the stores furnish'd with bread
    And dainties, remnants of the last regale.
    Then, in his turn, the sewer[2] with sav'ry meats,
    Dish after dish, served them, of various kinds,
    And golden cups beside the chargers placed,                      180
    Which the attendant herald fill'd with wine.
    Ere long, in rush'd the suitors, and the thrones
    And couches occupied, on all whose hands
    The heralds pour'd pure water; then the maids
    Attended them with bread in baskets heap'd,
    And eager they assail'd the ready feast.
    At length, when neither thirst nor hunger more
    They felt unsatisfied, to new delights
    Their thoughts they turn'd, to song and sprightly dance,
    Enlivening sequel of the banquet's joys.                         190
    An herald, then, to Phemius' hand consign'd
    His beauteous lyre; he through constraint regaled
    The suitors with his song, and while the chords
    He struck in prelude to his pleasant strains,
    Telemachus his head inclining nigh
    To Pallas' ear, lest others should his words
    Witness, the blue-eyed Goddess thus bespake.
      My inmate and my friend! far from my lips
    Be ev'ry word that might displease thine ear!
    The song--the harp,--what can they less than charm               200
    These wantons? who the bread unpurchased eat
    Of one whose bones on yonder continent
    Lie mould'ring, drench'd by all the show'rs of heaven,
    Or roll at random in the billowy deep.
    Ah! could they see him once to his own isle
    Restored, both gold and raiment they would wish
    Far less, and nimbleness of foot instead.
    But He, alas! hath by a wretched fate,
    Past question perish'd, and what news soe'er
    We hear of his return, kindles no hope                           210
    In us, convinced that he returns no more.
    But answer undissembling; tell me true;
    Who art thou? whence? where stands thy city? where
    Thy father's mansion? In what kind of ship
    Cam'st thou? Why steer'd the mariners their course
    To Ithaca, and of what land are they?
    For that on foot thou found'st us not, is sure.
    This also tell me, hast thou now arrived
    New to our isle, or wast thou heretofore
    My father's guest? Since many to our house                       220
    Resorted in those happier days, for he
    Drew pow'rful to himself the hearts of all.
      Then Pallas thus, Goddess cærulean-eyed.
    I will with all simplicity of truth
    Thy questions satisfy. Behold in me
    Mentes, the offspring of a Chief renown'd
    In war, Anchialus; and I rule, myself,
    An island race, the Taphians oar-expert.
    With ship and mariners I now arrive,
    Seeking a people of another tongue                               230
    Athwart the gloomy flood, in quest of brass
    For which I barter steel, ploughing the waves
    To Temesa. My ship beneath the woods
    Of Neïus, at yonder field that skirts
    Your city, in the haven Rhethrus rides.
    We are hereditary guests; our Sires
    Were friends long since; as, when thou seest him next,
    The Hero old Laertes will avouch,
    Of whom, I learn, that he frequents no more
    The city now, but in sequester'd scenes                          240
    Dwells sorrowful, and by an antient dame
    With food and drink supplied oft as he feels
    Refreshment needful to him, while he creeps
    Between the rows of his luxuriant vines.
    But I have come drawn hither by report,
    Which spake thy Sire arrived, though still it seems
    The adverse Gods his homeward course retard.
    For not yet breathless lies the noble Chief,
    But in some island of the boundless flood
    Resides a prisoner, by barbarous force                           250
    Of some rude race detained reluctant there.
    And I will now foreshow thee what the Gods
    Teach me, and what, though neither augur skill'd
    Nor prophet, I yet trust shall come to pass.
    He shall not, henceforth, live an exile long
    From his own shores, no, not although in bands
    Of iron held, but will ere long contrive
    His own return; for in expedients, framed
    With wond'rous ingenuity, he abounds.
    But tell me true; art thou, in stature such,                     260
    Son of himself Ulysses? for thy face
    And eyes bright-sparkling, strongly indicate
    Ulysses in thee. Frequent have we both
    Conversed together thus, thy Sire and I,
    Ere yet he went to Troy, the mark to which
    So many Princes of Achaia steer'd.
    Him since I saw not, nor Ulysses me.
      To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.
    Stranger! I tell thee true; my mother's voice
    Affirms me his, but since no mortal knows                        270
    His derivation, I affirm it not.
    Would I had been son of some happier Sire,
    Ordain'd in calm possession of his own
    To reach the verge of life. But now, report
    Proclaims me his, whom I of all mankind
    Unhappiest deem.--Thy question is resolved.
      Then answer thus Pallas blue-eyed return'd.
    From no ignoble race, in future days,
    The Gods shall prove thee sprung, whom so endow'd
    With ev'ry grace Penelope hath borne.                            280
    But tell me true. What festival is this?
    This throng--whence are they? wherefore hast thou need
    Of such a multitude? Behold I here
    A banquet, or a nuptial? for these
    Meet not by contribution[3] to regale,
    With such brutality and din they hold
    Their riotous banquet! a wise man and good
    Arriving, now, among them, at the sight
    Of such enormities would much be wroth.
      To whom replied Telemachus discrete.                           290
    Since, stranger! thou hast ask'd, learn also this.
    While yet Ulysses, with his people dwelt,
    His presence warranted the hope that here
    Virtue should dwell and opulence; but heav'n
    Hath cast for us, at length, a diff'rent lot,
    And he is lost, as never man before.
    For I should less lament even his death,
    Had he among his friends at Ilium fall'n,
    Or in the arms of his companions died,
    Troy's siege accomplish'd. Then his tomb the Greeks              300
    Of ev'ry tribe had built, and for his son,
    He had immortal glory atchieved; but now,
    By harpies torn inglorious, beyond reach
    Of eye or ear he lies; and hath to me
    Grief only, and unceasing sighs bequeath'd.
    Nor mourn I for his sake alone; the Gods
    Have plann'd for me still many a woe beside;
    For all the rulers of the neighbour isles,
    Samos, Dulichium, and the forest-crown'd
    Zacynthus, others also, rulers here                              310
    In craggy Ithaca, my mother seek
    In marriage, and my household stores consume.
    But neither she those nuptial rites abhorr'd,
    Refuses absolute, nor yet consents
    To end them; they my patrimony waste
    Meantime, and will not long spare even me.
      To whom, with deep commiseration pang'd,
    Pallas replied. Alas! great need hast thou
    Of thy long absent father to avenge
    These num'rous wrongs; for could he now appear                   320
    There, at yon portal, arm'd with helmet, shield,
    And grasping his two spears, such as when first
    I saw him drinking joyous at our board,
    From Ilus son of Mermeris, who dwelt
    In distant Ephyre, just then return'd,
    (For thither also had Ulysses gone
    In his swift bark, seeking some pois'nous drug
    Wherewith to taint his brazen arrows keen,
    Which drug through fear of the eternal Gods
    Ilus refused him, and my father free                             330
    Gave to him, for he loved him past belief)
    Could now, Ulysses, clad in arms as then,
    Mix with these suitors, short his date of life
    To each, and bitter should his nuptials prove.
    But these events, whether he shall return
    To take just vengeance under his own roof,
    Or whether not, lie all in the Gods lap.
    Meantime I counsel thee, thyself to think
    By what means likeliest thou shalt expel
    These from thy doors. Now mark me: close attend.                 340
    To-morrow, summoning the Grecian Chiefs
    To council, speak to them, and call the Gods
    To witness that solemnity. Bid go
    The suitors hence, each to his own abode.
    Thy mother--if her purpose be resolved
    On marriage, let her to the house return
    Of her own potent father, who, himself,
    Shall furnish forth her matrimonial rites,
    And ample dow'r, such as it well becomes
    A darling daughter to receive, bestow.                           350
    But hear me now; thyself I thus advise.
    The prime of all thy ships preparing, mann'd
    With twenty rowers, voyage hence to seek
    Intelligence of thy long-absent Sire.
    Some mortal may inform thee, or a word,[4]
    Perchance, by Jove directed (safest source
    Of notice to mankind) may reach thine ear.
    First voyaging to Pylus, there enquire
    Of noble Nestor; thence to Sparta tend,
    To question Menelaus amber-hair'd,                               360
    Latest arrived of all the host of Greece.
    There should'st thou learn that still thy father lives,
    And hope of his return, although
    Distress'd, thou wilt be patient yet a year.
    But should'st thou there hear tidings that he breathes
    No longer, to thy native isle return'd,
    First heap his tomb; then with such pomp perform
    His funeral rites as his great name demands,
    And make thy mother's spousals, next, thy care.
    These duties satisfied, delib'rate last                          370
    Whether thou shalt these troublers of thy house
    By stratagem, or by assault, destroy.
    For thou art now no child, nor longer may'st
    Sport like one. Hast thou not the proud report
    Heard, how Orestes hath renown acquired
    With all mankind, his father's murtherer
    Ægisthus slaying, the deceiver base
    Who slaughter'd Agamemnon? Oh my friend!
    (For with delight thy vig'rous growth I view,
    And just proportion) be thou also bold,                          380
    And merit praise from ages yet to come.
    But I will to my vessel now repair,
    And to my mariners, whom, absent long,
    I may perchance have troubled. Weigh thou well
    My counsel; let not my advice be lost.
      To whom Telemachus discrete replied.
    Stranger! thy words bespeak thee much my friend,
    Who, as a father teaches his own son,
    Hast taught me, and I never will forget.
    But, though in haste thy voyage to pursue,                       390
    Yet stay, that in the bath refreshing first
    Thy limbs now weary, thou may'st sprightlier seek
    Thy gallant bark, charged with some noble gift
    Of finish'd workmanship, which thou shalt keep
    As my memorial ever; such a boon
    As men confer on guests whom much they love.
      Then Pallas thus, Goddess cærulean-eyed.
    Retard me not, for go I must; the gift
    Which liberal thou desirest to bestow,
    Give me at my return, that I may bear                            400
    The treasure home; and, in exchange, thyself
    Expect some gift equivalent from me.
      She spake, and as with eagle-wings upborne,
    Vanish'd incontinent, but him inspired
    With daring fortitude, and on his heart
    Dearer remembrance of his Sire impress'd
    Than ever. Conscious of the wond'rous change,
    Amazed he stood, and, in his secret thought
    Revolving all, believed his guest a God.
    The youthful Hero to the suitors then                            410
    Repair'd; they silent, listen'd to the song
    Of the illustrious Bard: he the return
    Deplorable of the Achaian host
    From Ilium by command of Pallas, sang.
    Penelope, Icarius' daughter, mark'd
    Meantime the song celestial, where she sat
    In the superior palace; down she came,
    By all the num'rous steps of her abode;
    Not sole, for two fair handmaids follow'd her.
    She then, divinest of her sex, arrived                           420
    In presence of that lawless throng, beneath
    The portal of her stately mansion stood,
    Between her maidens, with her lucid veil
    Her lovely features mantling. There, profuse
    She wept, and thus the sacred bard bespake.
      Phemius! for many a sorrow-soothing strain
    Thou know'st beside, such as exploits record
    Of Gods and men, the poet's frequent theme;
    Give them of those a song, and let themselves
    Their wine drink noiseless; but this mournful strain             430
    Break off, unfriendly to my bosom's peace,
    And which of all hearts nearest touches mine,
    With such regret my dearest Lord I mourn,
    Rememb'ring still an husband praised from side
    To side, and in the very heart of Greece.
      Then answer thus Telemachus return'd.
    My mother! wherefore should it give thee pain
    If the delightful bard that theme pursue
    To which he feels his mind impell'd? the bard
    Blame not, but rather Jove, who, as he wills,                    440
    Materials for poetic art supplies.
    No fault is his, if the disastrous fate
    He sing of the Achaians, for the song
    Wins ever from the hearers most applause
    That has been least in use. Of all who fought
    At Troy, Ulysses hath not lost, alone,
    His day of glad return; but many a Chief
    Hath perish'd also. Seek thou then again
    Thy own apartment, spindle ply and loom,
    And task thy maidens; management belongs                         450
    To men of joys convivial, and of men
    Especially to me, chief ruler here.
      She heard astonish'd; and the prudent speech
    Reposing of her son deep in her heart,
    Again with her attendant maidens sought
    Her upper chamber. There arrived, she wept
    Her lost Ulysses, till Minerva bathed
    Her weary lids in dewy sleep profound.
    Then echoed through the palace dark-bedimm'd
    With evening shades the suitors boist'rous roar,                 460
    For each the royal bed burn'd to partake,
    Whom thus Telemachus discrete address'd.
      All ye my mother's suitors, though addict
    To contumacious wrangling fierce, suspend
    Your clamour, for a course to me it seems
    More decent far, when such a bard as this,
    Godlike, for sweetness, sings, to hear his song.
    To-morrow meet we in full council all,
    That I may plainly warn you to depart
    From this our mansion. Seek ye where ye may                      470
    Your feasts; consume your own; alternate feed
    Each at the other's cost; but if it seem
    Wisest in your account and best, to eat
    Voracious thus the patrimonial goods
    Of one man, rend'ring no account of all,[5]
    Bite to the roots; but know that I will cry
    Ceaseless to the eternal Gods, in hope
    That Jove, for retribution of the wrong,
    Shall doom you, where ye have intruded, there
    To bleed, and of your blood ask no account.[5]                   480
      He ended, and each gnaw'd his lip, aghast
    At his undaunted hardiness of speech.
      Then thus Antinoüs spake, Eupithes' son.
    Telemachus! the Gods, methinks, themselves
    Teach thee sublimity, and to pronounce
    Thy matter fearless. Ah forbid it, Jove!
    That one so eloquent should with the weight
    Of kingly cares in Ithaca be charged,
    A realm, by claim hereditary, thine.
      Then prudent thus Telemachus replied.                          490
    Although my speech Antinoüs may, perchance,
    Provoke thee, know that I am not averse
    From kingly cares, if Jove appoint me such.
    Seems it to thee a burthen to be fear'd
    By men above all others? trust me, no,
    There is no ill in royalty; the man
    So station'd, waits not long ere he obtain
    Riches and honour. But I grant that Kings
    Of the Achaians may no few be found
    In sea-girt Ithaca both young and old,                           500
    Of whom since great Ulysses is no more,
    Reign whoso may; but King, myself, I am
    In my own house, and over all my own
    Domestics, by Ulysses gained for me.
      To whom Eurymachus replied, the son
    Of Polybus. What Grecian Chief shall reign
    In sea-girt Ithaca, must be referr'd
    To the Gods' will, Telemachus! meantime
    Thou hast unquestionable right to keep
    Thy own, and to command in thy own house.                        510
    May never that man on her shores arrive,
    While an inhabitant shall yet be left
    In Ithaca, who shall by violence wrest
    Thine from thee. But permit me, noble Sir!
    To ask thee of thy guest. Whence came the man?
    What country claims him? Where are to be found
    His kindred and his patrimonial fields?
    Brings he glad tidings of thy Sire's approach
    Homeward? or came he to receive a debt
    Due to himself? How swift he disappear'd!                        520
    Nor opportunity to know him gave
    To those who wish'd it; for his face and air
    Him speak not of Plebeian birth obscure.
      Whom answered thus Telemachus discrete.
    Eurymachus! my father comes no more.
    I can no longer now tidings believe,
    If such arrive; nor he'd I more the song
    Of sooth-sayers whom my mother may consult.
    But this my guest hath known in other days
    My father, and he came from Taphos, son                          530
    Of brave Anchialus, Mentes by name,
    And Chief of the sea-practis'd Taphian race.
      So spake Telemachus, but in his heart
    Knew well his guest a Goddess from the skies.
    Then they to dance and heart-enlivening song
    Turn'd joyous, waiting the approach of eve,
    And dusky evening found them joyous still.
    Then each, to his own house retiring, sought
    Needful repose. Meantime Telemachus
    To his own lofty chamber, built in view                          540
    Of the wide hall, retired; but with a heart
    In various musings occupied intense.
    Sage Euryclea, bearing in each hand
    A torch, preceded him; her sire was Ops,
    Pisenor's son, and, in her early prime,
    At his own cost Laertes made her his,
    Paying with twenty beeves her purchase-price,
    Nor in less honour than his spotless wife
    He held her ever, but his consort's wrath
    Fearing, at no time call'd her to his bed.                       550
    She bore the torches, and with truer heart
    Loved him than any of the female train,
    For she had nurs'd him in his infant years.
    He open'd his broad chamber-valves, and sat
    On his couch-side: then putting off his vest
    Of softest texture, placed it in the hands
    Of the attendant dame discrete, who first
    Folding it with exactest care, beside
    His bed suspended it, and, going forth,
    Drew by its silver ring the portal close,                        560
    And fasten'd it with bolt and brace secure.
    There lay Telemachus, on finest wool
    Reposed, contemplating all night his course
    Prescribed by Pallas to the Pylian shore.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] We are told that Homer was under obligations to Mentes, who had
frequently given him a passage in his ship to different countries which
he wished to see, for which reason he has here immortalised him.

[2] Milton uses the word--Sewers and seneschals.

[3] Ἔρανος, a convivial meeting, at which every man paid his proportion,
at least contributed something; but it seems to have been a meeting at
which strict sobriety was observed, else Pallas would not have inferred
from the noise and riot of this, that it was not such a one.

[4] Οσσα--a word spoken, with respect to the speaker, casually; but with
reference to the inquirer supposed to be sent for his information by the
especial appointment and providential favour of the Gods.

[5] There is in the Original an evident stress laid on the word Νήποινοι,
which is used in both places. It was a sort of Lex Talionis which
Telemachus hoped might be put in force against them; and that Jove would
demand no satisfaction for the lives of those who made him none for the
waste of his property.




BOOK II

ARGUMENT

Telemachus having convened an assembly of the Greecians, publicly calls
on the Suitors to relinquish the house of Ulysses. During the continuance
of the Council he has much to suffer from the petulance of the Suitors,
from whom, having informed them of his design to undertake a voyage in
hope to obtain news of Ulysses, he asks a ship, with all things necessary
for the purpose. He is refused, but is afterwards furnished with what he
wants by Minerva, in the form of Mentor. He embarks in the evening
without the privity of his mother, and the Goddess sails with him.


    Aurora, rosy daughter of the dawn,
    Now ting'd the East, when habited again,
    Uprose Ulysses' offspring from his bed.
    Athwart his back his faulchion keen he flung,
    His sandals bound to his unsullied feet,
    And, godlike, issued from his chamber-door.
    At once the clear-voic'd heralds he enjoin'd
    To call the Greeks to council; they aloud
    Gave forth the summons, and the throng began.
    When all were gather'd, and the assembly full,                    10
    Himself, his hand arm'd with a brazen spear,
    Went also; nor alone he went; his hounds
    Fleet-footed follow'd him, a faithful pair.
    O'er all his form Minerva largely shed
    Majestic grace divine, and, as he went,
    The whole admiring concourse gaz'd on him,
    The seniors gave him place, and down he sat
    On his paternal Throne. Then grave arose
    The Hero, old Ægyptius; bow'd with age
    Was he, and by experience deep-inform'd.                          20
    His son had with Ulysses, godlike Chief,
    On board his fleet to steed-fam'd Ilium gone,
    The warrior Antiphus, whom in his cave
    The savage Cyclops slew, and on his flesh
    At ev'ning made obscene his last regale.
    Three sons he had beside, a suitor one,
    Eurynomus; the other two, employ
    Found constant managing their Sire's concerns.
    Yet he forgat not, father as he was
    Of these, his absent eldest, whom he mourn'd                      30
    Ceaseless, and thus his speech, weeping, began.
      Hear me, ye men of Ithaca, my friends!
    Nor council here nor session hath been held
    Since great Ulysses left his native shore.
    Who now convenes us? what especial need
    Hath urged him, whether of our youth he be,
    Or of our senators by age matured?
    Have tidings reach'd him of our host's return,
    Which here he would divulge? or brings he aught
    Of public import on a diff'rent theme?                            40
    I deem him, whosoe'er he be, a man
    Worthy to prosper, and may Jove vouchsafe
    The full performance of his chief desire!
      He ended, and Telemachus rejoiced
    In that good omen. Ardent to begin,
    He sat not long, but, moving to the midst,
    Received the sceptre from Pisenor's hand,
    His prudent herald, and addressing, next,
    The hoary Chief Ægyptius, thus began.
      Not far remote, as thou shalt soon thyself                      50
    Perceive, oh venerable Chief! he stands,
    Who hath convened this council. I, am He.
    I am in chief the suff'rer. Tidings none
    Of the returning host I have received,
    Which here I would divulge, nor bring I aught
    Of public import on a different theme,
    But my own trouble, on my own house fall'n,
    And two-fold fall'n. One is, that I have lost
    A noble father, who, as fathers rule
    Benign their children, govern'd once yourselves;                  60
    The other, and the more alarming ill,
    With ruin threatens my whole house, and all
    My patrimony with immediate waste.
    Suitors, (their children who in this our isle
    Hold highest rank) importunate besiege
    My mother, though desirous not to wed,
    And rather than resort to her own Sire
    Icarius, who might give his daughter dow'r,
    And portion her to whom he most approves,
    (A course which, only named, moves their disgust)                 70
    They chuse, assembling all within my gates
    Daily to make my beeves, my sheep, my goats
    Their banquet, and to drink without restraint
    My wine; whence ruin threatens us and ours;
    For I have no Ulysses to relieve
    Me and my family from this abuse.
    Ourselves are not sufficient; we, alas!
    Too feeble should be found, and yet to learn
    How best to use the little force we own;
    Else, had I pow'r, I would, myself, redress                       80
    The evil; for it now surpasses far
    All suff'rance, now they ravage uncontroul'd,
    Nor show of decency vouchsafe me more.
    Oh be ashamed[6] yourselves; blush at the thought
    Of such reproach as ye shall sure incur
    From all our neighbour states, and fear beside
    The wrath of the Immortals, lest they call
    Yourselves one day to a severe account.
    I pray you by Olympian Jove, by her
    Whose voice convenes all councils, and again                      90
    Dissolves them, Themis, that henceforth ye cease,
    That ye permit me, oh my friends! to wear
    My days in solitary grief away,
    Unless Ulysses, my illustrious Sire,
    Hath in his anger any Greecian wrong'd,
    Whose wrongs ye purpose to avenge on me,
    Inciting these to plague me. Better far
    Were my condition, if yourselves consumed
    My substance and my revenue; from you
    I might obtain, perchance, righteous amends                      100
    Hereafter; you I might with vehement suit
    O'ercome, from house to house pleading aloud
    For recompense, till I at last prevail'd.
    But now, with darts of anguish ye transfix
    My inmost soul, and I have no redress.
      He spake impassion'd, and to earth cast down
    His sceptre, weeping. Pity at that sight
    Seiz'd all the people; mute the assembly sat
    Long time, none dared to greet Telemachus
    With answer rough, till of them all, at last,                    110
    Antinoüs, sole arising, thus replied.
      Telemachus, intemp'rate in harangue,
    High-sounding orator! it is thy drift
    To make us all odious; but the offence
    Lies not with us the suitors; she alone
    Thy mother, who in subtlety excels,
    And deep-wrought subterfuge, deserves the blame.
    It is already the third year, and soon
    Shall be the fourth, since with delusive art
    Practising on their minds, she hath deceived                     120
    The Greecians; message after message sent
    Brings hope to each, by turns, and promise fair,
    But she, meantime, far otherwise intends.
    Her other arts exhausted all, she framed
    This stratagem; a web of amplest size
    And subtlest woof beginning, thus she spake.
    Princes, my suitors! since the noble Chief
    Ulysses is no more, press not as yet
    My nuptials, wait till I shall finish, first,
    A fun'ral robe (lest all my threads decay)                       130
    Which for the antient Hero I prepare,
    Laertes, looking for the mournful hour
    When fate shall snatch him to eternal rest;
    Else I the censure dread of all my sex,
    Should he, so wealthy, want at last a shroud.
    So spake the Queen, and unsuspicious, we
    With her request complied. Thenceforth, all day
    She wove the ample web, and by the aid
    Of torches ravell'd it again at night.
    Three years by such contrivance she deceived                     140
    The Greecians; but when (three whole years elaps'd)
    The fourth arriv'd, then, conscious of the fraud,
    A damsel of her train told all the truth,
    And her we found rav'ling the beauteous work.
    Thus, through necessity she hath, at length,
    Perform'd the task, and in her own despight.
    Now therefore, for the information clear
    Of thee thyself, and of the other Greeks,
    We answer. Send thy mother hence, with charge
    That him she wed on whom her father's choice                     150
    Shall fall, and whom she shall, herself, approve.
    But if by long procrastination still
    She persevere wearing our patience out,
    Attentive only to display the gifts
    By Pallas so profusely dealt to her,
    Works of surpassing skill, ingenious thought,
    And subtle shifts, such as no beauteous Greek
    (For aught that we have heard) in antient times
    E'er practised, Tyro, or Alcemena fair,
    Or fair Mycene, of whom none in art                              160
    E'er match'd Penelope, although we yield
    To this her last invention little praise,
    Then know, that these her suitors will consume
    So long thy patrimony and thy goods,
    As she her present purpose shall indulge,
    With which the Gods inspire her. Great renown
    She to herself insures, but equal woe
    And devastation of thy wealth to thee;
    For neither to our proper works at home
    Go we, of that be sure, nor yet elsewhere,                       170
    Till him she wed, to whom she most inclines.
      Him prudent, then, answer'd Telemachus.
    Antinoüs! it is not possible
    That I should thrust her forth against her will,
    Who both produced and reared me. Be he dead,
    Or still alive, my Sire is far remote,
    And should I, voluntary, hence dismiss
    My mother to Icarius, I must much
    Refund, which hardship were and loss to me.
    So doing, I should also wrath incur                              180
    From my offended Sire, and from the Gods
    Still more; for she, departing, would invoke
    Erynnis to avenge her, and reproach
    Beside would follow me from all mankind.
    That word I, therefore, never will pronounce.
    No, if ye judge your treatment at her hands
    Injurious to you, go ye forth yourselves,
    Forsake my mansion; seek where else ye may
    Your feasts; consume your own; alternate feed
    Each at the other's cost. But if it seem                         190
    Wisest in your account and best to eat
    Voracious thus the patrimonial goods
    Of one man, rend'ring no account of all,
    Bite to the roots; but know that I will cry
    Ceaseless to the eternal Gods, in hope
    That Jove, in retribution of the wrong,
    Shall doom you, where ye have intruded, there
    To bleed, and of your blood ask no account.
      So spake Telemachus, and while he spake,
    The Thund'rer from a lofty mountain-top                          200
    Turn'd off two eagles; on the winds, awhile,
    With outspread pinions ample side by side
    They floated; but, ere long, hov'ring aloft,
    Right o'er the midst of the assembled Chiefs
    They wheel'd around, clang'd all their num'rous plumes,
    And with a downward look eyeing the throng,
    Death boded, ominous; then rending each
    The other's face and neck, they sprang at once
    Toward the right, and darted through the town.
    Amazement universal, at that sight,                              210
    Seized the assembly, and with anxious thought
    Each scann'd the future; amidst whom arose
    The Hero Halitherses, antient Seer,
    Offspring of Mastor; for in judgment he
    Of portents augural, and in forecast
    Unerring, his coevals all excell'd,
    And prudent thus the multitude bespake.
      Ye men of Ithaca, give ear! hear all!
    Though chief my speech shall to the suitors look,
    For, on their heads devolved, comes down the woe.                220
    Ulysses shall not from his friends, henceforth,
    Live absent long, but, hasting to his home,
    Comes even now, and as he comes, designs
    A bloody death for these, whose bitter woes
    No few shall share, inhabitants with us
    Of pleasant Ithaca; but let us frame
    Effectual means maturely to suppress
    Their violent deeds, or rather let themselves
    Repentant cease; and soonest shall be best.
    Not inexpert, but well-inform'd I speak                          230
    The future, and the accomplishment announce
    Of all which when Ulysses with the Greeks
    Embark'd for Troy, I to himself foretold.
    I said that, after many woes, and loss
    Of all his people, in the twentieth year,
    Unknown to all, he should regain his home,
    And my prediction shall be now fulfill'd.
      Him, then, Eurymachus thus answer'd rough
    The son of Polybus. Hence to thy house,
    Thou hoary dotard! there, prophetic, teach                       240
    Thy children to escape woes else to come.
    Birds num'rous flutter in the beams of day,
    Not all predictive. Death, far hence remote
    Hath found Ulysses, and I would to heav'n
    That, where he died, thyself had perish'd too.
    Thou hadst not then run o'er with prophecy
    As now, nor provocation to the wrath
    Giv'n of Telemachus, in hope to win,
    Perchance, for thine some favour at his hands.
    But I to _thee_ foretell, skilled as thou art                    250
    In legends old, (nor shall my threat be vain)
    That if by artifice thou move to wrath
    A younger than thyself, no matter whom,
    Woe first the heavier on himself shall fall,
    Nor shalt thou profit him by thy attempt,
    And we will charge thee also with a mulct,
    Which thou shalt pay with difficulty, and bear
    The burthen of it with an aching heart.
      As for Telemachus, I him advise,
    Myself, and press the measure on his choice                      260
    Earnestly, that he send his mother hence
    To her own father's house, who shall, himself,
    Set forth her nuptial rites, and shall endow
    His daughter sumptuously, and as he ought.
    For this expensive wooing, as I judge,
    Till then shall never cease; since we regard
    No man--no--not Telemachus, although
    In words exub'rant; neither fear we aught
    Thy vain prognostics, venerable sir!
    But only hate thee for their sake the more.                      270
    Waste will continue and disorder foul
    Unremedied, so long as she shall hold
    The suitors in suspense, for, day by day,
    Our emulation goads us to the strife,
    Nor shall we, going hence, seek to espouse
    Each his own comfort suitable elsewhere.
      To whom, discrete, Telemachus replied.
    Eurymachus, and ye the suitor train
    Illustrious, I have spoken: ye shall hear
    No more this supplication urged by me.                           280
    The Gods, and all the Greeks, now know the truth.
    But give me instantly a gallant bark
    With twenty rowers, skill'd their course to win
    To whatsoever haven; for I go
    To sandy Pylus, and shall hasten thence
    To Lacedemon, tidings to obtain
    Of my long-absent Sire, or from the lips
    Of man, or by a word from Jove vouchsafed
    Himself, best source of notice to mankind.
    If, there inform'd that still my father lives,                   290
    I hope conceive of his return, although
    Distress'd, I shall be patient yet a year.
    But should I learn, haply, that he survives
    No longer, then, returning, I will raise
    At home his tomb, will with such pomp perform
    His fun'ral rites, as his great name demands,
    And give my mother's hand to whom I may.
      This said, he sat, and after him arose
    Mentor, illustrious Ulysses' friend,
    To whom, embarking thence, he had consign'd                      300
    All his concerns, that the old Chief might rule
    His family, and keep the whole secure.
    Arising, thus the senior, sage, began.
      Hear me, ye Ithacans! be never King
    Henceforth, benevolent, gracious, humane
    Or righteous, but let every sceptred hand
    Rule merciless, and deal in wrong alone,
    Since none of all his people, whom he sway'd
    With such paternal gentleness and love,
    Remembers the divine Ulysses more!                               310
    That the imperious suitors thus should weave
    The web of mischief and atrocious wrong,
    I grudge not; since at hazard of their heads
    They make Ulysses' property a prey,
    Persuaded that the Hero comes no more.
    But much the people move me; how ye sit
    All mute, and though a multitude, yourselves,
    Opposed to few, risque not a single word
    To check the license of these bold intruders!
      Then thus Liocritus, Evenor's son.                             320
    Injurious Mentor! headlong orator!
    How dar'st thou move the populace against
    The suitors? Trust me they should find it hard,
    Numerous as they are, to cope with us,
    A feast the prize. Or should the King himself
    Of Ithaca, returning, undertake
    T' expell the jovial suitors from his house,
    Much as Penelope his absence mourns,
    His presence should afford her little joy;
    For fighting sole with many, he should meet                      330
    A dreadful death. Thou, therefore, speak'st amiss.
    As for Telemachus, let Mentor him
    And Halytherses furnish forth, the friends
    Long valued of his Sire, with all dispatch;
    Though him I judge far likelier to remain
    Long-time contented an enquirer here,
    Than to perform the voyage now proposed.
      Thus saying, Liocritus dissolved in haste
    The council, and the scattered concourse sought
    Their sev'ral homes, while all the suitors flock'd               340
    Thence to the palace of their absent King.
    Meantime, Telemachus from all resort
    Retiring, in the surf of the gray Deep
    First laved his hands, then, thus to Pallas pray'd.
      O Goddess! who wast yesterday a guest
    Beneath my roof, and didst enjoin me then
    A voyage o'er the sable Deep in quest
    Of tidings of my long regretted Sire!
    Which voyage, all in Ithaca, but most
    The haughty suitors, obstinate impede,                           350
    Now hear my suit and gracious interpose!
      Such pray'r he made; then Pallas, in the form,
    And with the voice of Mentor, drawing nigh,
    In accents wing'd, him kindly thus bespake.
      Telemachus! thou shalt hereafter prove
    Nor base, nor poor in talents. If, in truth,
    Thou have received from heav'n thy father's force
    Instill'd into thee, and resemblest him
    In promptness both of action and of speech,
    Thy voyage shall not useless be, or vain.                        360
    But if Penelope produced thee not
    His son, I, then, hope not for good effect
    Of this design which, ardent, thou pursuest.
    Few sons their fathers equal; most appear
    Degenerate; but we find, though rare, sometimes
    A son superior even to his Sire.
    And since thyself shalt neither base be found
    Nor spiritless, nor altogether void
    Of talents, such as grace thy royal Sire,
    I therefore hope success of thy attempt.                         370
    Heed not the suitors' projects; neither wise
    Are they, nor just, nor aught suspect the doom
    Which now approaches them, and in one day
    Shall overwhelm them all. No long suspense
    Shall hold thy purposed enterprise in doubt,
    Such help from me, of old thy father's friend,
    Thou shalt receive, who with a bark well-oar'd
    Will serve thee, and myself attend thee forth.
    But haste, join thou the suitors, and provide,
    In sep'rate vessels stow'd, all needful stores,                  380
    Wine in thy jars, and flour, the strength of man,
    In skins close-seam'd. I will, meantime, select
    Such as shall voluntary share thy toils.
    In sea-girt Ithaca new ships and old
    Abound, and I will chuse, myself, for thee
    The prime of all, which without more delay
    We will launch out into the spacious Deep.
      Thus Pallas spake, daughter of Jove; nor long,
    So greeted by the voice divine, remain'd
    Telemachus, but to his palace went                               390
    Distress'd in heart. He found the suitors there
    Goats slaying in the hall, and fatted swine
    Roasting; when with a laugh Antinoüs flew
    To meet him, fasten'd on his hand, and said,
      Telemachus, in eloquence sublime,
    And of a spirit not to be controul'd!
    Give harbour in thy breast on no account
    To after-grudge or enmity, but eat,
    Far rather, cheerfully as heretofore,
    And freely drink, committing all thy cares                       400
    To the Achaians, who shall furnish forth
    A gallant ship and chosen crew for thee,
    That thou may'st hence to Pylus with all speed,
    Tidings to learn of thy illustrious Sire.
      To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.
    Antinoüs! I have no heart to feast
    With guests so insolent, nor can indulge
    The pleasures of a mind at ease, with you.
    Is't not enough, suitors, that ye have used
    My noble patrimony as your own                                   410
    While I was yet a child? now, grown mature,
    And competent to understand the speech
    Of my instructors, feeling, too, a mind
    Within me conscious of augmented pow'rs,
    I will attempt your ruin, be assured,
    Whether at Pylus, or continuing here.
    I go, indeed, (nor shall my voyage prove
    Of which I speak, bootless or vain) I go
    An humble passenger, who neither bark
    Nor rowers have to boast my own, denied                          420
    That honour (so ye judg'd it best) by you.
      He said, and from Antinoüs' hand his own
    Drew sudden. Then their delicate repast
    The busy suitors on all sides prepar'd,
    Still taunting as they toil'd, and with sharp speech
    Sarcastic wantoning, of whom a youth,
    Arrogant as his fellows, thus began.
      I see it plain, Telemachus intends
    Our slaughter; either he will aids procure
    From sandy Pylus, or will bring them arm'd                       430
    From Sparta; such is his tremendous drift.
    Even to fruitful Ephyre, perchance,
    He will proceed, seeking some baneful herb
    Which cast into our cup, shall drug us all.
      To whom some haughty suitor thus replied.
    Who knows but that himself, wand'ring the sea
    From all his friends and kindred far remote,
    May perish like Ulysses? Whence to us
    Should double toil ensue, on whom the charge
    To parcel out his wealth would then devolve,                     440
    And to endow his mother with the house
    For his abode whom she should chance to wed.
      So sported they; but he, ascending sought
    His father's lofty chamber, where his heaps
    He kept of brass and gold, garments in chests,
    And oils of fragrant scent, a copious store.
    There many a cask with season'd nectar fill'd
    The grape's pure juice divine, beside the wall
    Stood orderly arranged, waiting the hour
    (Should e'er such hour arrive) when, after woes                  450
    Num'rous, Ulysses should regain his home.
    Secure that chamber was with folding doors
    Of massy planks compact, and night and day,
    Within it antient Euryclea dwelt,
    Guardian discrete of all the treasures there,
    Whom, thither call'd, Telemachus address'd.
      Nurse! draw me forth sweet wine into my jars,
    Delicious next to that which thou reserv'st
    For our poor wand'rer; if escaping death
    At last, divine Ulysses e'er return.                             460
    Fill twelve, and stop them close; pour also meal
    Well mill'd (full twenty measures) into skins
    Close-seam'd, and mention what thou dost to none.
    Place them together; for at even-tide
    I will convey them hence, soon as the Queen,
    Retiring to her couch, shall seek repose.
    For hence to Sparta will I take my course,
    And sandy Pylus, tidings there to hear
    (If hear I may) of my lov'd Sire's return.
    He ceas'd, then wept his gentle nurse that sound                 470
    Hearing, and in wing'd accents thus replied.
      My child! ah, wherefore hath a thought so rash
    Possess'd thee? whither, only and belov'd,
    Seek'st thou to ramble, travelling, alas!
    To distant climes? Ulysses is no more;
    Dead lies the Hero in some land unknown,
    And thou no sooner shalt depart, than these
    Will plot to slay thee, and divide thy wealth.
    No, stay with us who love thee. Need is none
    That thou should'st on the barren Deep distress                  480
    Encounter, roaming without hope or end.
      Whom, prudent, thus answer'd Telemachus.
    Take courage, nurse! for not without consent
    Of the Immortals I have thus resolv'd.
    But swear, that till eleven days be past,
    Or twelve, or, till enquiry made, she learn
    Herself my going, thou wilt not impart
    Of this my purpose to my mother's ear,
    Lest all her beauties fade by grief impair'd.
      He ended, and the antient matron swore                         490
    Solemnly by the Gods; which done, she fill'd
    With wine the vessels and the skins with meal,
    And he, returning, join'd the throng below.
      Then Pallas, Goddess azure-eyed, her thoughts
    Elsewhere directing, all the city ranged
    In semblance of Telemachus, each man
    Exhorting, at the dusk of eve, to seek
    The gallant ship, and from Noëmon, son
    Renown'd of Phronius, ask'd, herself, a bark,
    Which soon as ask'd, he promis'd to supply.                      500
      Now set the sun, and twilight dimm'd the ways,
    When, drawing down his bark into the Deep,
    He gave her all her furniture, oars, arms
    And tackle, such as well-built galleys bear,
    Then moor'd her in the bottom of the bay.
    Meantime, his mariners in haste repair'd
    Down to the shore, for Pallas urged them on.
    And now on other purposes intent,
    The Goddess sought the palace, where with dews
    Of slumber drenching ev'ry suitor's eye,                         510
    She fool'd the drunkard multitude, and dash'd
    The goblets from their idle hands away.
    They through the city reeled, happy to leave
    The dull carousal, when the slumb'rous weight
    Oppressive on their eye-lids once had fall'n.
    Next, Pallas azure-eyed in Mentor's form
    And with the voice of Mentor, summoning
    Telemachus abroad, him thus bespake.
      Telemachus! already at their oars
    Sit all thy fellow-voyagers, and wait                            520
    Thy coming; linger not, but haste away.
      This said, Minerva led him thence, whom he
    With nimble steps follow'd, and on the shore
    Arrived, found all his mariners prepared,
    Whom thus the princely voyager address'd.
      Haste, my companions! bring we down the stores
    Already sorted and set forth; but nought
    My mother knows, or any of her train
    Of this design, one matron sole except.
      He spake, and led them; they, obedient, brought                530
    All down, and, as Ulysses' son enjoin'd,
    Within the gallant bark the charge bestow'd.
      Then, led by Pallas, went the prince on board,
    Where down they sat, the Goddess in the stern,
    And at her side Telemachus. The crew
    Cast loose the hawsers, and embarking, fill'd
    The benches. Blue-eyed Pallas from the West
    Call'd forth propitious breezes; fresh they curled
    The sable Deep, and, sounding, swept the waves.
    He loud-exhorting them, his people bade                          540
    Hand, brisk, the tackle; they, obedient, reared
    The pine-tree mast, which in its socket deep
    They lodg'd, then strain'd the cordage, and with thongs
    Well-twisted, drew the shining sail aloft.
    A land-breeze fill'd the canvas, and the flood
    Roar'd as she went against the steady bark
    That ran with even course her liquid way.
    The rigging, thus, of all the galley set,
    Their beakers crowning high with wine, they hail'd
    The ever-living Gods, but above all                              550
    Minerva, daughter azure-eyed of Jove.
    Thus, all night long the galley, and till dawn
    Had brighten'd into day, cleaved swift the flood.


FOOTNOTES:

[6] The reader is to be reminded that this is not an assembly of the
suitors only, but a general one, which affords Telemachus an opportunity
to apply himself to the feelings of the Ithacans at large.




BOOK III

ARGUMENT

Telemachus arriving at Pylus, enquires of Nestor concerning Ulysses.
Nestor relates to him all that he knows or has heard of the Greecians
since their departure from the siege of Troy, but not being able to give
him any satisfactory account of Ulysses, refers him to Menelaus. At
evening Minerva quits Telemachus, but discovers herself in going. Nestor
sacrifices to the Goddess, and the solemnity ended, Telemachus sets forth
for Sparta in one of Nestor's chariots, and accompanied by Nestor's son,
Pisistratus.


    The sun, emerging from the lucid waves,
    Ascended now the brazen vault with light
    For the inhabitants of earth and heav'n,
    When in their bark at Pylus they arrived,
    City of Neleus. On the shore they found
    The people sacrificing; bulls they slew
    Black without spot, to Neptune azure-hair'd.
    On ranges nine of seats they sat; each range
    Received five hundred, and to each they made
    Allotment equal of nine sable bulls.                              10
    The feast was now begun; these eating sat
    The entrails, those stood off'ring to the God
    The thighs, his portion, when the Ithacans
    Push'd right ashore, and, furling close the sails,
    And making fast their moorings, disembark'd.
    Forth came Telemachus, by Pallas led,
    Whom thus the Goddess azure-eyed address'd.
    Telemachus! there is no longer room
    For bashful fear, since thou hast cross'd the flood
    With purpose to enquire what land conceals                        20
    Thy father, and what fate hath follow'd him.
    Advance at once to the equestrian Chief
    Nestor, within whose bosom lies, perhaps,
    Advice well worthy of thy search; entreat
    Himself, that he will tell thee only truth,
    Who will not lye, for he is passing wise.
      To whom Telemachus discrete replied.
    Ah Mentor! how can I advance, how greet
    A Chief like him, unpractis'd as I am
    In manag'd phrase? Shame bids the youth beware                    30
    How he accosts the man of many years.
      But him the Goddess answer'd azure-eyed,
    Telemachus! Thou wilt, in part, thyself
    Fit speech devise, and heav'n will give the rest;
    For thou wast neither born, nor hast been train'd
    To manhood, under unpropitious Pow'rs.
      So saying, Minerva led him thence, whom he
    With nimble steps attending, soon arrived
    Among the multitude. There Nestor sat,
    And Nestor's sons, while, busily the feast                        40
    Tending, his num'rous followers roasted, some,
    The viands, some, transfix'd them with the spits.
    They seeing guests arrived, together all
    Advanced, and, grasping courteously their hands,
    Invited them to sit; but first, the son
    Of Nestor, young Pisistratus, approach'd,
    Who, fast'ning on the hands of both, beside
    The banquet placed them, where the beach was spread
    With fleeces, and where Thrasymedes sat
    His brother, and the hoary Chief his Sire.                        50
    To each a portion of the inner parts
    He gave, then fill'd a golden cup with wine,
    Which, tasted first, he to the daughter bore
    Of Jove the Thund'rer, and her thus bespake.
      Oh guest! the King of Ocean now adore!
    For ye have chanced on Neptune's festival;
    And, when thou hast, thyself, libation made
    Duly, and pray'r, deliver to thy friend
    The gen'rous juice, that he may also make
    Libation; for he, doubtless, seeks, in prayer                     60
    The Immortals, of whose favour all have need.
    But, since he younger is, and with myself
    Coeval, first I give the cup to thee.
      He ceas'd, and to her hand consign'd the cup,
    Which Pallas gladly from a youth received
    So just and wise, who to herself had first
    The golden cup presented, and in pray'r
    Fervent the Sov'reign of the Seas adored.
      Hear, earth-encircler Neptune! O vouchsafe
    To us thy suppliants the desired effect                           70
    Of this our voyage; glory, first, bestow
    On Nestor and his offspring both, then grant
    To all the Pylians such a gracious boon
    As shall requite their noble off'ring well.
    Grant also to Telemachus and me
    To voyage hence, possess'd of what we sought
    When hither in our sable bark we came.
      So Pallas pray'd, and her own pray'r herself
    Accomplish'd. To Telemachus she gave
    The splendid goblet next, and in his turn                         80
    Like pray'r Ulysses' son also preferr'd.
    And now (the banquet from the spits withdrawn)
    They next distributed sufficient share
    To each, and all were sumptuously regaled.
    At length, (both hunger satisfied and thirst)
    Thus Nestor, the Gerenian Chief, began.
      Now with more seemliness we may enquire,
    After repast, what guests we have received.
    Our guests! who are ye? Whence have ye the waves
    Plough'd hither? Come ye to transact concerns                     90
    Commercial, or at random roam the Deep
    Like pirates, who with mischief charged and woe
    To foreign States, oft hazard life themselves?
      Him answer'd, bolder now, but still discrete,
    Telemachus. For Pallas had his heart
    With manly courage arm'd, that he might ask
    From Nestor tidings of his absent Sire,
    And win, himself, distinction and renown.
      Oh Nestor, Neleus' son, glory of Greece!
    Thou askest whence we are. I tell thee whence.                   100
    From Ithaca, by the umbrageous woods
    Of Neritus o'erhung, by private need,
    Not public, urged, we come. My errand is
    To seek intelligence of the renown'd
    Ulysses; of my noble father, prais'd
    For dauntless courage, whom report proclaims
    Conqueror, with thine aid, of sacred Troy.
    We have already learn'd where other Chiefs
    Who fought at Ilium, died; but Jove conceals
    Even the death of my illustrious Sire                            110
    In dull obscurity; for none hath heard
    Or confident can answer, where he dy'd;
    Whether he on the continent hath fall'n
    By hostile hands, or by the waves o'erwhelm'd
    Of Amphitrite, welters in the Deep.
    For this cause, at thy knees suppliant, I beg
    That thou would'st tell me his disast'rous end,
    If either thou beheld'st that dread event
    Thyself, or from some wanderer of the Greeks
    Hast heard it: for my father at his birth                        120
    Was, sure, predestin'd to no common woes.
    Neither through pity, or o'erstrain'd respect
    Flatter me, but explicit all relate
    Which thou hast witness'd. If my noble Sire
    E'er gratified thee by performance just
    Of word or deed at Ilium, where ye fell
    So num'rous slain in fight, oh, recollect
    Now his fidelity, and tell me true.
      Then Nestor thus Gerenian Hero old.
    Young friend! since thou remind'st me, speaking thus,            130
    Of all the woes which indefatigable
    We sons of the Achaians there sustain'd,
    Both those which wand'ring on the Deep we bore
    Wherever by Achilles led in quest
    Of booty, and the many woes beside
    Which under royal Priam's spacious walls
    We suffer'd, know, that there our bravest fell.
    There warlike Ajax lies, there Peleus' son;
    There, too, Patroclus, like the Gods themselves
    In council, and my son beloved there,                            140
    Brave, virtuous, swift of foot, and bold in fight,
    Antilochus. Nor are these sorrows all;
    What tongue of mortal man could all relate?
    Should'st thou, abiding here, five years employ
    Or six, enquiring of the woes endured
    By the Achaians, ere thou should'st have learn'd
    The whole, thou would'st depart, tir'd of the tale.
    For we, nine years, stratagems of all kinds
    Devised against them, and Saturnian Jove
    Scarce crown'd the difficult attempt at last.                    150
    There, no competitor in wiles well-plann'd
    Ulysses found, so far were all surpass'd
    In shrewd invention by thy noble Sire,
    If thou indeed art his, as sure thou art,
    Whose sight breeds wonder in me, and thy speech
    His speech resembles more than might be deem'd
    Within the scope of years so green as thine.
    There, never in opinion, or in voice
    Illustrious Ulysses and myself
    Divided were, but, one in heart, contrived                       160
    As best we might, the benefit of all.
    But after Priam's lofty city sack'd,
    And the departure of the Greeks on board
    Their barks, and when the Gods had scatter'd them,
    Then Jove imagin'd for the Argive host
    A sorrowful return; for neither just
    Were all, nor prudent, therefore many found
    A fate disast'rous through the vengeful ire
    Of Jove-born Pallas, who between the sons
    Of Atreus sharp contention interposed.                           170
    They both, irregularly, and against
    Just order, summoning by night the Greeks
    To council, of whom many came with wine
    Oppress'd, promulgated the cause for which
    They had convened the people. Then it was
    That Menelaus bade the general host
    Their thoughts bend homeward o'er the sacred Deep,
    Which Agamemnon in no sort approved.
    His counsel was to slay them yet at Troy,
    That so he might assuage the dreadful wrath                      180
    Of Pallas, first, by sacrifice and pray'r.
    Vain hope! he little thought how ill should speed
    That fond attempt, for, once provok'd, the Gods
    Are not with ease conciliated again.
    Thus stood the brothers, altercation hot
    Maintaining, till at length, uprose the Greeks
    With deaf'ning clamours, and with diff'ring minds.
    We slept the night, but teeming with disgust
    Mutual, for Jove great woe prepar'd for all.
    At dawn of day we drew our gallies down                          190
    Into the sea, and, hasty, put on board
    The spoils and female captives. Half the host,
    With Agamemnon, son of Atreus, stay'd
    Supreme commander, and, embarking, half
    Push'd forth. Swift course we made, for Neptune smooth'd
    The waves before us of the monstrous Deep.
    At Tenedos arriv'd, we there perform'd
    Sacrifice to the Gods, ardent to reach
    Our native land, but unpropitious Jove,
    Not yet designing our arrival there,                             200
    Involved us in dissension fierce again.
    For all the crews, followers of the King,
    Thy noble Sire, to gratify our Chief,
    The son of Atreus, chose a diff'rent course,
    And steer'd their oary barks again to Troy.
    But I, assured that evil from the Gods
    Impended, gath'ring all my gallant fleet,
    Fled thence in haste, and warlike Diomede
    Exhorting his attendants, also fled.
    At length, the Hero Menelaus join'd                              210
    Our fleets at Lesbos; there he found us held
    In deep deliberation on the length
    Of way before us, whether we should steer
    Above the craggy Chios to the isle
    Psyria, that island holding on our left,
    Or under Chios by the wind-swept heights
    Of Mimas. Then we ask'd from Jove a sign,
    And by a sign vouchsafed he bade us cut
    The wide sea to Eubœa sheer athwart,
    So soonest to escape the threat'ned harm.                        220
    Shrill sang the rising gale, and with swift prows
    Cleaving the fishy flood, we reach'd by night
    Geræstus, where arrived, we burn'd the thighs
    Of num'rous bulls to Neptune, who had safe
    Conducted us through all our perilous course.
    The fleet of Diomede in safety moor'd
    On the fourth day at Argos, but myself
    Held on my course to Pylus, nor the wind
    One moment thwarted us, or died away,
    When Jove had once commanded it to blow.                         230
      Thus, uninform'd, I have arrived, my son!
    Nor of the Greecians, who are saved have heard,
    Or who have perish'd; but what news soe'er
    I have obtain'd, since my return, with truth
    I will relate, nor aught conceal from thee.
      The spear-famed Myrmidons, as rumour speaks,
    By Neoptolemus, illustrious son
    Of brave Achilles led, have safe arrived;
    Safe, Philoctetes, also son renown'd
    Of Pæas; and Idomeneus at Crete                                  240
    Hath landed all his followers who survive
    The bloody war, the waves have swallow'd none.
    Ye have yourselves doubtless, although remote,
    Of Agamemnon heard, how he return'd,
    And how Ægisthus cruelly contrived
    For him a bloody welcome, but himself
    Hath with his own life paid the murth'rous deed.
    Good is it, therefore, if a son survive
    The slain, since Agamemnon's son hath well
    Avenged his father's death, slaying, himself,                    250
    Ægisthus, foul assassin of his Sire.
    Young friend! (for pleas'd thy vig'rous youth I view,
    And just proportion) be thou also bold,
    That thine like his may be a deathless name.
      Then, prudent, him answer'd Telemachus.
    Oh Nestor, Neleus' son, glory of Greece!
    And righteous was that vengeance; _his_ renown
    Achaia's sons shall far and wide diffuse,
    To future times transmitting it in song.
    Ah! would that such ability the Gods                             260
    Would grant to me, that I, as well, the deeds
    Might punish of our suitors, whose excess
    Enormous, and whose bitter taunts I feel
    Continual, object of their subtle hate.
    But not for me such happiness the Gods
    Have twined into my thread; no, not for me
    Or for my father. Patience is our part.
      To whom Gerenian Nestor thus replied.
    Young friend! (since thou remind'st me of that theme)
    Fame here reports that num'rous suitors haunt                    270
    Thy palace for thy mother's sake, and there
    Much evil perpetrate in thy despight.
    But say, endur'st thou willing their controul
    Imperious, or because the people, sway'd
    By some response oracular, incline
    Against thee? But who knows? the time may come
    When to his home restored, either alone,
    Or aided by the force of all the Greeks,
    Ulysses may avenge the wrong; at least,
    Should Pallas azure-eyed thee love, as erst                      280
    At Troy, the scene of our unnumber'd woes,
    She lov'd Ulysses (for I have not known
    The Gods assisting so apparently
    A mortal man, as him Minerva there)
    Should Pallas view thee also with like love
    And kind solicitude, some few of those
    Should dream, perchance, of wedlock never more.
      Then answer thus Telemachus return'd.
    That word's accomplishment I cannot hope;
    It promises too much; the thought alone                          290
    O'erwhelms me; an event so fortunate
    Would, unexpected on my part, arrive,
    Although the Gods themselves should purpose it.
      But Pallas him answer'd cærulean-eyed.
    Telemachus! what word was that which leap'd
    The iv'ry guard[7] that should have fenced it in?
    A God, so willing, could with utmost ease
    Save any man, howe'er remote. Myself,
    I had much rather, many woes endured,
    Revisit home, at last, happy and safe,                           300
    Than, sooner coming, die in my own house,
    As Agamemnon perish'd by the arts
    Of base Ægisthus and the subtle Queen.
    Yet not the Gods themselves can save from death
    All-levelling, the man whom most they love,
    When Fate ordains him once to his last sleep.
      To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.
    Howe'er it interest us, let us leave
    This question, Mentor! He, I am assured,
    Returns no more, but hath already found                          310
    A sad, sad fate by the decree of heav'n.
    But I would now interrogate again
    Nestor, and on a different theme, for him
    In human rights I judge, and laws expert,
    And in all knowledge beyond other men;
    For he hath govern'd, as report proclaims,
    Three generations; therefore in my eyes
    He wears the awful impress of a God.
    Oh Nestor, son of Neleus, tell me true;
    What was the manner of Atrides' death,                           320
    Wide-ruling Agamemnon? Tell me where
    Was Menelaus? By what means contrived
    Ægisthus to inflict the fatal blow,
    Slaying so much a nobler than himself?
    Had not the brother of the Monarch reach'd
    Achaian Argos yet, but, wand'ring still
    In other climes, his long absence gave
    Ægisthus courage for that bloody deed?
    Whom answer'd the Gerenian Chief renown'd.
    My son! I will inform thee true; meantime                        330
    Thy own suspicions border on the fact.
    Had Menelaus, Hero, amber hair'd,
    Ægisthus found living at his return
    From Ilium, never on _his_ bones the Greeks
    Had heap'd a tomb, but dogs and rav'ning fowls
    Had torn him lying in the open field
    Far from the town, nor him had woman wept
    Of all in Greece, for he had foul transgress'd.
    But we, in many an arduous task engaged,
    Lay before Ilium; he, the while, secure                          340
    Within the green retreats of Argos, found
    Occasion apt by flatt'ry to delude
    The spouse of Agamemnon; she, at first,
    (The royal Clytemnestra) firm refused
    The deed dishonourable (for she bore
    A virtuous mind, and at her side a bard
    Attended ever, whom the King, to Troy
    Departing, had appointed to the charge.)
    But when the Gods had purposed to ensnare
    Ægisthus, then dismissing far remote                             350
    The bard into a desart isle, he there
    Abandon'd him to rav'ning fowls a prey,
    And to his own home, willing as himself,
    Led Clytemnestra. Num'rous thighs he burn'd
    On all their hallow'd altars to the Gods,
    And hung with tap'stry, images, and gold
    Their shrines, his great exploit past hope atchiev'd.
    We (Menelaus and myself) had sailed
    From Troy together, but when we approach'd
    Sunium, headland of th' Athenian shore,                          360
    There Phœbus, sudden, with his gentle shafts
    Slew Menelaus' pilot while he steer'd
    The volant bark, Phrontis, Onetor's son,
    A mariner past all expert, whom none
    In steerage match'd, what time the tempest roar'd.
    Here, therefore, Menelaus was detained,
    Giving his friend due burial, and his rites
    Funereal celebrating, though in haste
    Still to proceed. But when, with all his fleet
    The wide sea traversing, he reach'd at length                    370
    Malea's lofty foreland in his course,
    Rough passage, then, and perilous he found.
    Shrill blasts the Thund'rer pour'd into his sails,
    And wild waves sent him mountainous. His ships
    There scatter'd, some to the Cydonian coast
    Of Crete he push'd, near where the Jardan flows.
    Beside the confines of Gortyna stands,
    Amid the gloomy flood, a smooth rock, steep
    Toward the sea, against whose leftward point
    Phæstus by name, the South wind rolls the surge                  380
    Amain, which yet the rock, though small, repells.
    Hither with part he came, and scarce the crews
    Themselves escaped, while the huge billows broke
    Their ships against the rocks; yet five he saved,
    Which winds and waves drove to the Ægyptian shore.
      Thus he, provision gath'ring as he went
    And gold abundant, roam'd to distant lands
    And nations of another tongue. Meantime,
    Ægisthus these enormities at home
    Devising, slew Atrides, and supreme                              390
    Rul'd the subjected land; sev'n years he reign'd
    In opulent Mycenæ, but the eighth
    From Athens brought renown'd Orestes home
    For his destruction, who of life bereaved
    Ægisthus base assassin of his Sire.
    Orestes, therefore, the funereal rites
    Performing to his shameless mother's shade
    And to her lustful paramour, a feast
    Gave to the Argives; on which self-same day
    The warlike Menelaus, with his ships                             400
    All treasure-laden to the brink, arrived.
      And thou, young friend! from thy forsaken home
    Rove not long time remote, thy treasures left
    At mercy of those proud, lest they divide
    And waste the whole, rend'ring thy voyage vain.
    But hence to Menelaus is the course
    To which I counsel thee; for he hath come
    Of late from distant lands, whence to escape
    No man could hope, whom tempests first had driv'n
    Devious into so wide a sea, from which                           410
    Themselves the birds of heaven could not arrive
    In a whole year, so vast is the expanse.
    Go, then, with ship and shipmates, or if more
    The land delight thee, steeds thou shalt not want
    Nor chariot, and my sons shall be thy guides
    To noble Lacedemon, the abode
    Of Menelaus; ask from him the truth,
    Who will not lye, for he is passing wise.
      While thus he spake, the sun declined, and night
    Approaching, blue-eyed Pallas interposed.                        420
      O antient King! well hast thou spoken all.
    But now delay not. Cut ye forth the tongues,[8]
    And mingle wine, that (Neptune first invoked
    With due libation, and the other Gods)
    We may repair to rest; for even now
    The sun is sunk, and it becomes us not
    Long to protract a banquet to the Gods
    Devote, but in fit season to depart.
      So spake Jove's daughter; they obedient heard.
    The heralds, then, pour'd water on their hands,                  430
    And the attendant youths, filling the cups,
    Served them from left to right. Next all the tongues
    They cast into the fire, and ev'ry guest
    Arising, pour'd libation to the Gods.
    Libation made, and all with wine sufficed,
    Godlike Telemachus and Pallas both
    Would have return'd, incontinent, on board,
    But Nestor urged them still to be his guests.
      Forbid it, Jove, and all the Pow'rs of heav'n!
    That ye should leave me to repair on board                       440
    Your vessel, as I were some needy wretch
    Cloakless and destitute of fleecy stores
    Wherewith to spread the couch soft for myself,
    Or for my guests. No. I have garments warm
    An ample store, and rugs of richest dye;
    And never shall Ulysses' son belov'd,
    My frend's own son, sleep on a galley's plank
    While I draw vital air; grant also, heav'n,
    That, dying, I may leave behind me sons
    Glad to accommodate whatever guest!                              450
      Him answer'd then Pallas cærulean-eyed.
    Old Chief! thou hast well said, and reason bids
    Telemachus thy kind commands obey.
    Let _him_ attend thee hence, that he may sleep
    Beneath thy roof, but I return on board
    Myself, to instruct my people, and to give
    All needful orders; for among them none
    Is old as I, but they are youths alike,
    Coevals of Telemachus, with whom
    They have embark'd for friendship's sake alone.                  460
    I therefore will repose myself on board
    This night, and to the Caucons bold in arms
    Will sail to-morrow, to demand arrears
    Long time unpaid, and of no small amount.
    But, since he is become thy guest, afford
    My friend a chariot, and a son of thine
    Who shall direct his way, nor let him want
    Of all thy steeds the swiftest and the best.
      So saying, the blue-eyed Goddess as upborne
    On eagle's wings, vanish'd; amazement seized                     470
    The whole assembly, and the antient King
    O'erwhelmed with wonder at that sight, the hand
    Grasp'd of Telemachus, whom he thus bespake.
      My friend! I prophesy that thou shalt prove
    Nor base nor dastard, whom, so young, the Gods
    Already take in charge; for of the Pow'rs
    Inhabitants of heav'n, none else was this
    Than Jove's own daughter Pallas, who among
    The Greecians honour'd most thy gen'rous Sire.
      But thou, O Queen! compassionate us all,                       480
    Myself, my sons, my comfort; give to each
    A glorious name, and I to thee will give
    For sacrifice an heifer of the year,
    Broad-fronted, one that never yet hath borne
    The yoke, and will incase her horns with gold.
      So Nestor pray'd, whom Pallas gracious heard.
    Then the Gerenian warrior old, before
    His sons and sons in law, to his abode
    Magnificent proceeded: they (arrived
    Within the splendid palace of the King)                          490
    On thrones and couches sat in order ranged,
    Whom Nestor welcom'd, charging high the cup
    With wine of richest sort, which she who kept
    That treasure, now in the eleventh year
    First broach'd, unsealing the delicious juice.
    With this the hoary Senior fill'd a cup,
    And to the daughter of Jove Ægis-arm'd
    Pouring libation, offer'd fervent pray'r.
      When all had made libation, and no wish
    Remain'd of more, then each to rest retired,                     500
    And Nestor the Gerenian warrior old
    Led thence Telemachus to a carved couch
    Beneath the sounding portico prepared.
    Beside him he bade sleep the spearman bold,
    Pisistratus, a gallant youth, the sole
    Unwedded in his house of all his sons.
    Himself in the interior palace lay,
    Where couch and cov'ring for her antient spouse
    The consort Queen had diligent prepar'd.
      But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn,                         510
    Had tinged the East, arising from his bed,
    Gerenian Nestor issued forth, and sat
    Before his palace-gate on the white stones
    Resplendent as with oil, on which of old
    His father Neleus had been wont to sit,
    In council like a God; but he had sought,
    By destiny dismiss'd long since, the shades.
    On those stones therefore now, Nestor himself,
    Achaia's guardian, sat, sceptre in hand,
    Where soon his num'rous sons, leaving betimes                    520
    The place of their repose, also appeared,
    Echephron, Stratius, Perseus, Thrasymedes,
    Aretus and Pisistratus. They placed
    Godlike Telemachus at Nestor's side,
    And the Gerenian Hero thus began.
      Sons be ye quick--execute with dispatch
    My purpose, that I may propitiate first
    Of all the Gods Minerva, who herself
    Hath honour'd manifest our hallow'd feast.
    Haste, one, into the field, to order thence                      530
    An ox, and let the herdsman drive it home.
    Another, hasting to the sable bark
    Of brave Telemachus, bring hither all
    His friends, save two, and let a third command
    Laerceus, that he come to enwrap with gold
    The victim's horns. Abide ye here, the rest,
    And bid my female train (for I intend
    A banquet) with all diligence provide
    Seats, stores of wood, and water from the rock.
      He said, whom instant all obey'd. The ox                       540
    Came from the field, and from the gallant ship
    The ship-mates of the brave Telemachus;
    Next, charged with all his implements of art,
    His mallet, anvil, pincers, came the smith
    To give the horns their gilding; also came
    Pallas herself to her own sacred rites.
    Then Nestor, hoary warrior, furnish'd gold,
    Which, hammer'd thin, the artist wrapp'd around
    The victim's horns, that seeing him attired
    So costly, Pallas might the more be pleased.                     550
    Stratius and brave Echephron introduced
    The victim by his horns; Aretus brought
    A laver in one hand, with flow'rs emboss'd,
    And in his other hand a basket stored
    With cakes, while warlike Thrasymedes, arm'd
    With his long-hafted ax, prepared to smite
    The ox, and Perseus to receive the blood.
    The hoary Nestor consecrated first
    Both cakes and water, and with earnest pray'r
    To Pallas, gave the forelock to the flames.                      560
      When all had worshipp'd, and the broken cakes
    Sprinkled, then godlike Thrasymedes drew
    Close to the ox, and smote him. Deep the edge
    Enter'd, and senseless on the floor he fell.
    Then Nestor's daughters, and the consorts all
    Of Nestor's sons, with his own consort, chaste
    Eurydice, the daughter eldest-born
    Of Clymenus, in one shrill orison
    Vocif'rous join'd, while they, lifting the ox,
    Held him supported firmly, and the prince                        570
    Of men, Pisistratus, his gullet pierced.
    Soon as the sable blood had ceased, and life
    Had left the victim, spreading him abroad,
    With nice address they parted at the joint
    His thighs, and wrapp'd them in the double cawl,
    Which with crude slices thin they overspread.
    Nestor burn'd incense, and libation pour'd
    Large on the hissing brands, while him beside,
    Busy with spit and prong, stood many a youth
    Train'd to the task. The thighs consumed, each took
    His portion of the maw, then, slashing well                      581
    The remnant, they transpierced it with the spits
    Neatly, and held it reeking at the fire.
    Meantime the youngest of the daughters fair
    Of Nestor, beauteous Polycaste, laved,
    Anointed, and in vest and tunic cloathed
    Telemachus, who, so refresh'd, stepp'd forth
    From the bright laver graceful as a God,
    And took his seat at antient Nestor's side.
    The viands dress'd, and from the spits withdrawn,                590
    They sat to share the feast, and princely youths
    Arising, gave them wine in cups of gold.
    When neither hunger now nor thirst remain'd
    Unsated, thus Gerenian Nestor spake.
      My sons, arise, lead forth the sprightly steeds,
    And yoke them, that Telemachus may go.
      So spake the Chief, to whose commands his sons,
    Obedient, yoked in haste the rapid steeds,
    And the intendant matron of the stores
    Disposed meantime within the chariot, bread                      600
    And wine, and dainties, such as princes eat.
    Telemachus into the chariot first
    Ascended, and beside him, next, his place
    Pisistratus the son of Nestor took,
    Then seiz'd the reins, and lash'd the coursers on.
    They, nothing loth, into the open plain
    Flew, leaving lofty Pylus soon afar.
    Thus, journeying, they shook on either side
    The yoke all day, and now the setting sun
    To dusky evening had resign'd the roads,                         610
    When they to Pheræ came, and the abode
    Reach'd of Diocles, whose illustrious Sire
    Orsilochus from Alpheus drew his birth,
    And there, with kindness entertain'd, they slept.
      But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn,
    Look'd rosy from the East, yoking the steeds,
    They in their sumptuous chariot sat again.
    The son of Nestor plied the lash, and forth
    Through vestibule and sounding portico
    The royal coursers, not unwilling, flew.                         620
    A corn-invested land receiv'd them next,
    And there they brought their journey to a close,
    So rapidly they moved; and now the sun
    Went down, and even-tide dimm'd all the ways.


FOOTNOTES:

[7] Ερκος οδοντων. Prior, alluding to this expression, ludicrously
renders it--

    "When words like these in vocal breath
    Burst from his twofold hedge of teeth."

[8] It is said to have been customary in the days of Homer, when the
Greeks retired from a banquet to their beds, to cut out the tongues of
the victims, and offer them to the Gods in particular who presided over
conversation.




BOOK IV

ARGUMENT

Telemachus, with Pisistratus, arrives at the palace of Menelaus, from
whom he receives some fresh information concerning the return of the
Greecians, and is in particular told on the authority of Proteus, that
his father is detained by Calypso. The suitors, plotting against the life
of Telemachus, lie in wait to intercept him in his return to Ithaca.
Penelope being informed of his departure, and of their designs to slay
him, becomes inconsolable, but is relieved by a dream sent to her from
Minerva.


    In hollow Lacedæmon's spacious vale
    Arriving, to the house they drove direct
    Of royal Menelaus; him they found
    In his own palace, all his num'rous friends
    Regaling at a nuptial banquet giv'n
    Both for his daughter and the prince his son.
    His daughter to renown'd Achilles' heir
    He sent, to whom he had at Troy engaged
    To give her, and the Gods now made her his.
    With chariots and with steeds he sent her forth                   10
    To the illustrious city where the prince,
    Achilles' offspring, ruled the Myrmidons.
    But to his son he gave a Spartan fair,
    Alector's daughter; from an handmaid sprang
    That son to Menelaus in his age,
    Brave Megapenthes; for the Gods no child
    To Helen gave, made mother, once, of her
    Who vied in perfect loveliness of form
    With golden Venus' self, Hermione.
      Thus all the neighbour princes and the friends                  20
    Of noble Menelaus, feasting sat
    Within his spacious palace, among whom
    A sacred bard sang sweetly to his harp,
    While, in the midst, two dancers smote the ground
    With measur'd steps responsive to his song.
      And now the Heroes, Nestor's noble son
    And young Telemachus arrived within
    The vestibule, whom, issuing from the hall,
    The noble Eteoneus of the train
    Of Menelaus, saw; at once he ran                                  30
    Across the palace to report the news
    To his Lord's ear, and, standing at his side,
    In accents wing'd with haste thus greeted him.
      Oh Menelaus! Heav'n descended Chief!
    Two guests arrive, both strangers, but the race
    Of Jove supreme resembling each in form.
    Say, shall we loose, ourselves, their rapid steeds,
    Or hence dismiss them to some other host?
      But Menelaus, Hero golden-hair'd,
    Indignant answer'd him. Boethe's son!                             40
    Thou wast not, Eteoneus, heretofore,
    A babbler, who now pratest as a child.
    We have ourselves arrived indebted much
    To hospitality of other men,
    If Jove shall, even here, some pause at last
    Of woe afford us. Therefore loose, at once,
    Their steeds, and introduce them to the feast.
      He said, and, issuing, Eteoneus call'd
    The brisk attendants to his aid, with whom
    He loos'd their foaming coursers from the yoke.                   50
    Them first they bound to mangers, which with oats
    And mingled barley they supplied, then thrust
    The chariot sidelong to the splendid wall.[9]
    Themselves he, next, into the royal house
    Conducted, who survey'd, wond'ring, the abode
    Of the heav'n-favour'd King; for on all sides
    As with the splendour of the sun or moon
    The lofty dome of Menelaus blazed.
    Satiate, at length, with wonder at that sight,
    They enter'd each a bath, and by the hands                        60
    Of maidens laved, and oil'd, and cloath'd again
    With shaggy mantles and resplendent vests,
    Sat both enthroned at Menelaus' side.
    And now a maiden charged with golden ew'r,
    And with an argent laver, pouring first
    Pure water on their hands, supplied them next
    With a bright table, which the maiden, chief
    In office, furnish'd plenteously with bread
    And dainties, remnants of the last regale.
    Then came the sew'r, who with delicious meats                     70
    Dish after dish, served them, and placed beside
    The chargers cups magnificent of gold,
    When Menelaus grasp'd their hands, and said.
      Eat and rejoice, and when ye shall have shared
    Our nuptial banquet, we will then inquire
    Who are ye both, for, certain, not from those
    Whose generation perishes are ye,
    But rather of some race of sceptred Chiefs
    Heav'n-born; the base have never sons like you.
      So saying, he from the board lifted his own                     80
    Distinguish'd portion, and the fatted chine
    Gave to his guests; the sav'ry viands they
    With outstretch'd hands assail'd, and when the force
    No longer now of appetite they felt,
    Telemachus, inclining close his head
    To Nestor's son, lest others should his speech
    Witness, in whisper'd words him thus address'd.
      Dearest Pisistratus, observe, my friend!
    How all the echoing palace with the light
    Of beaming brass, of gold and amber shines                        90
    Silver and ivory! for radiance such
    Th' interior mansion of Olympian Jove
    I deem. What wealth, how various, how immense
    Is here! astonish'd I survey the sight!
      But Menelaus, golden-hair'd, his speech
    O'erhearing, thus in accents wing'd replied
      My children! let no mortal man pretend
    Comparison with Jove; for Jove's abode
    And all his stores are incorruptible.
    But whether mortal man with me may vie                           100
    In the display of wealth, or whether not,
    This know, that after many toils endured,
    And perilous wand'rings wide, in the eighth year
    I brought my treasures home. Remote I roved
    To Cyprus, to Phœnice, to the shores
    Of Ægypt; Æthiopia's land I reach'd,
    Th' Erembi, the Sidonians, and the coasts
    Of Lybia, where the lambs their foreheads shew
    At once with horns defended, soon as yean'd.
    There, thrice within the year the flocks produce,                110
    Nor master, there, nor shepherd ever feels
    A dearth of cheese, of flesh, or of sweet milk
    Delicious, drawn from udders never dry.
    While, thus, commodities on various coasts
    Gath'ring I roam'd, another, by the arts
    Of his pernicious spouse aided, of life
    Bereav'd my brother privily, and when least
    He fear'd to lose it. Therefore little joy
    To me results from all that I possess.
    Your fathers (be those fathers who they may)                     120
    These things have doubtless told you; for immense
    Have been my suff'rings, and I have destroy'd
    A palace well inhabited and stored
    With precious furniture in ev'ry kind;
    Such, that I would to heav'n! I own'd at home
    Though but the third of it, and that the Greeks
    Who perish'd then, beneath the walls of Troy
    Far from steed-pastured Argos, still survived.
    Yet while, sequester'd here, I frequent mourn
    My slaughter'd friends, by turns I sooth my soul                 130
    With tears shed for them, and by turns again
    I cease; for grief soon satiates free indulged.
    But of them all, although I all bewail,
    None mourn I so as one, whom calling back
    To memory, I both sleep and food abhor.
    For, of Achaia's sons none ever toiled
    Strenuous as Ulysses; but his lot
    Was woe, and unremitting sorrow mine
    For his long absence, who, if still he live,
    We know not aught, or be already dead.                           140
    Him doubtless, old Laertes mourns, and him
    Discrete Penelope, nor less his son
    Telemachus, born newly when he sail'd.
      So saying, he kindled in him strong desire
    To mourn his father; at his father's name
    Fast fell his tears to ground, and with both hands
    He spread his purple cloak before his eyes;
    Which Menelaus marking, doubtful sat
    If he should leave him leisure for his tears,
    Or question him, and tell him all at large.                      150
      While thus he doubted, Helen (as it chanced)
    Leaving her fragrant chamber, came, august
    As Dian, goddess of the golden bow.
    Adrasta, for her use, set forth a throne,
    Alcippe with soft arras cover'd it,
    And Philo brought her silver basket, gift
    Of fair Alcandra, wife of Polybus,
    Whose mansion in Ægyptian Thebes is rich
    In untold treasure, and who gave, himself,
    Ten golden talents, and two silver baths                         160
    To Menelaus, with two splendid tripods
    Beside the noble gifts which, at the hand
    Of his illustrious spouse, Helen receiv'd;
    A golden spindle, and a basket wheel'd,
    Itself of silver, and its lip of gold.
    That basket Philo, her own handmaid, placed
    At beauteous Helen's side, charged to the brim
    With slender threads, on which the spindle lay
    With wool of purple lustre wrapp'd around.
    Approaching, on her foot-stool'd throne she sat,                 170
    And, instant, of her royal spouse enquired.
      Know we, my Menelaus, dear to Jove!
    These guests of ours, and whence they have arrived?
    Erroneous I may speak, yet speak I must;
    In man or woman never have I seen
    Such likeness to another (wonder-fixt
    I gaze) as in this stranger to the son
    Of brave Ulysses, whom that Hero left
    New-born at home, when (shameless as I was)
    For my unworthy sake the Greecians sailed                        180
    To Ilium, with fierce rage of battle fir'd.
      Then Menelaus, thus, the golden-hair'd.
    I also such resemblance find in him
    As thou; such feet, such hands, the cast of eye[10]
    Similar, and the head and flowing locks.
    And even now, when I Ulysses named,
    And his great sufferings mention'd, in my cause,
    The bitter tear dropp'd from his lids, while broad
    Before his eyes his purple cloak he spread.
      To whom the son of Nestor thus replied.                        190
    Atrides! Menelaus! Chief renown'd!
    He is in truth his son, as thou hast said,
    But he is modest, and would much himself
    Condemn, if, at his first arrival here,
    He should loquacious seem and bold to thee,
    To whom we listen, captived by thy voice,
    As if some God had spoken. As for me,
    Nestor, my father, the Gerenian Chief
    Bade me conduct him hither, for he wish'd
    To see thee, promising himself from thee                         200
    The benefit of some kind word or deed.
    For, destitute of other aid, he much
    His father's tedious absence mourns at home.
    So fares Telemachus; his father strays
    Remote, and, in his stead, no friend hath he
    Who might avert the mischiefs that he feels.
      To whom the Hero amber-hair'd replied.
    Ye Gods! the offspring of indeed a friend
    Hath reach'd my house, of one who hath endured
    Arduous conflicts num'rous for my sake;                          210
    And much I purpos'd, had Olympian Jove
    Vouchsaf'd us prosp'rous passage o'er the Deep,
    To have receiv'd him with such friendship here
    As none beside. In Argos I had then
    Founded a city for him, and had rais'd
    A palace for himself; I would have brought
    The Hero hither, and his son, with all
    His people, and with all his wealth, some town
    Evacuating for his sake, of those
    Ruled by myself, and neighb'ring close my own.                   220
    Thus situate, we had often interchanged
    Sweet converse, nor had other cause at last
    Our friendship terminated or our joys,
    Than death's black cloud o'ershadowing him or me.
    But such delights could only envy move
    Ev'n in the Gods, who have, of all the Greeks,
    Amerc'd _him_ only of his wish'd return.
      So saying, he kindled the desire to weep
    In ev'ry bosom. Argive Helen wept
    Abundant, Jove's own daughter; wept as fast                      230
    Telemachus and Menelaus both;
    Nor Nestor's son with tearless eyes remain'd,
    Calling to mind Antilochus[11] by the son[12]
    Illustrious of the bright Aurora slain,
    Rememb'ring whom, in accents wing'd he said.
      Atrides! antient Nestor, when of late
    Conversing with him, we remember'd thee,
    Pronounced thee wise beyond all human-kind.
    Now therefore, let not even my advice
    Displease thee. It affords me no delight                         240
    To intermingle tears with my repast,
    And soon, Aurora, daughter of the dawn,
    Will tinge the orient. Not that I account
    Due lamentation of a friend deceased
    Blameworthy, since, to sheer the locks and weep,
    Is all we can for the unhappy dead.
    I also have my grief, call'd to lament
    One, not the meanest of Achaia's sons,
    My brother; him I cannot but suppose
    To thee well-known, although unknown to me                       250
    Who saw him never;[13] but report proclaims
    Antilochus superior to the most,
    In speed superior, and in feats of arms.
      To whom, the Hero of the yellow locks.
    O friend belov'd! since nought which thou hast said
    Or recommended now, would have disgraced
    A man of years maturer far than thine,
    (For wise thy father is, and such art thou,
    And easy is it to discern the son
    Of such a father, whom Saturnian Jove                            260
    In marriage both and at his birth ordain'd
    To great felicity; for he hath giv'n
    To Nestor gradually to sink at home
    Into old age, and, while he lives, to see
    His sons past others wise, and skill'd in arms)
    The sorrow into which we sudden fell
    Shall pause. Come--now remember we the feast;
    Pour water on our hands, for we shall find,
    (Telemachus and I) no dearth of themes
    For mutual converse when the day shall dawn.                     270
      He ended; then, Asphalion, at his word,
    Servant of glorious Menelaus, poured
    Pure water on their hands, and they the feast
    Before them with keen appetite assail'd.
    But Jove-born Helen otherwise, meantime,
    Employ'd, into the wine of which they drank
    A drug infused, antidote to the pains
    Of grief and anger, a most potent charm
    For ills of ev'ry name. Whoe'er his wine
    So medicated drinks, he shall not pour                           280
    All day the tears down his wan cheek, although
    His father and his mother both were dead,
    Nor even though his brother or his son
    Had fall'n in battle, and before his eyes.
    Such drugs Jove's daughter own'd, with skill prepar'd,
    And of prime virtue, by the wife of Thone,
    Ægyptian Polydamna, giv'n her.
    For Ægypt teems with drugs, yielding no few
    Which, mingled with the drink, are good, and many
    Of baneful juice, and enemies to life.                           290
    There ev'ry man in skill medicinal
    Excels, for they are sons of Pæon all.
    That drug infused, she bade her servant pour
    The bev'rage forth, and thus her speech resumed.
      Atrides! Menelaus! dear to Jove!
    These also are the sons of Chiefs renown'd,
    (For Jove, as pleases him, to each assigns
    Or good or evil, whom all things obey)
    Now therefore, feasting at your ease reclin'd,
    Listen with pleasure, for myself, the while,                     300
    Will matter seasonable interpose.
    I cannot all rehearse, nor even name,
    (Omitting none) the conflicts and exploits
    Of brave Ulysses; but with what address
    Successful, one atchievement he perform'd
    At Ilium, where Achaia's sons endured
    Such hardship, will I speak. Inflicting wounds
    Dishonourable on himself, he took
    A tatter'd garb, and like a serving-man
    Enter'd the spacious city of your foes.                          310
    So veil'd, some mendicant he seem'd, although
    No Greecian less deserved that name than he.
    In such disguise he enter'd; all alike
    Misdeem'd him; me alone he not deceived
    Who challeng'd him, but, shrewd, he turn'd away.
    At length, however, when I had myself
    Bathed him, anointed, cloath'd him, and had sworn
    Not to declare him openly in Troy
    Till he should reach again the camp and fleet,
    He told me the whole purpose of the Greeks.                      320
    Then, (many a Trojan slaughter'd,) he regain'd
    The camp, and much intelligence he bore
    To the Achaians. Oh what wailing then
    Was heard of Trojan women! but my heart
    Exulted, alter'd now, and wishing home;
    For now my crime committed under force
    Of Venus' influence I deplored, what time
    She led me to a country far remote,
    A wand'rer from the matrimonial bed,
    From my own child, and from my rightful Lord                     330
    Alike unblemish'd both in form and mind.
      Her answer'd then the Hero golden-hair'd.
    Helen! thou hast well spoken. All is true.
    I have the talents fathom'd and the minds
    Of num'rous Heroes, and have travell'd far
    Yet never saw I with these eyes in man
    Such firmness as the calm Ulysses own'd;
    None such as in the wooden horse he proved,
    Where all our bravest sat, designing woe
    And bloody havoc for the sons of Troy.                           340
    Thou thither cam'st, impell'd, as it should seem,
    By some divinity inclin'd to give
    Victory to our foes, and with thee came
    Godlike Deiphobus. Thrice round about
    The hollow ambush, striking with thy hand
    Its sides thou went'st, and by his name didst call
    Each prince of Greece feigning his consort's voice.
    Myself with Diomede, and with divine
    Ulysses, seated in the midst, the call
    Heard plain and loud; we (Diomede and I)                         350
    With ardour burn'd either to quit the horse
    So summon'd, or to answer from within.
    But, all impatient as we were, Ulysses
    Controul'd the rash design; so there the sons
    Of the Achaians silent sat and mute,
    And of us all Anticlus would alone
    Have answer'd; but Ulysses with both hands
    Compressing close his lips, saved us, nor ceased
    Till Pallas thence conducted thee again.
      Then thus, discrete, Telemachus replied.                       360
    Atrides! Menelaus! prince renown'd!
    Hard was his lot whom these rare qualities
    Preserved not, neither had his dauntless heart
    Been iron, had he scaped his cruel doom.
    But haste, dismiss us hence, that on our beds
    Reposed, we may enjoy sleep, needful now.
      He ceas'd; then Argive Helen gave command
    To her attendant maidens to prepare
    Beds in the portico with purple rugs
    Resplendent, and with arras, overspread,                         370
    And cover'd warm with cloaks of shaggy pile.
    Forth went the maidens, bearing each a torch,
    And spread the couches; next, the herald them
    Led forth, and in the vestibule the son
    Of Nestor and the youthful Hero slept,
    Telemachus; but in the interior house
    Atrides, with the loveliest of her sex
    Beside him, Helen of the sweeping stole.
    But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn,
    Glow'd in the East, then from his couch arose                    380
    The warlike Menelaus, fresh attir'd;
    His faulchion o'er his shoulders slung, he bound
    His sandals fair to his unsullied feet,
    And like a God issuing, at the side
    Sat of Telemachus, to whom he spake.
      Hero! Telemachus! what urgent cause
    Hath hither led thee, to the land far-famed
    Of Lacedæmon o'er the spacious Deep?
    Public concern or private? Tell me true.
      To whom Telemachus discrete replied.                           390
    Atrides! Menelaus! prince renown'd!
    News seeking of my Sire, I have arrived.
    My household is devour'd, my fruitful fields
    Are desolated, and my palace fill'd
    With enemies, who while they mutual wage
    Proud competition for my mother's love,
    My flocks continual slaughter, and my beeves.
    For this cause, at thy knees suppliant, I beg
    That thou wouldst tell me his disastrous end,
    If either thou beheld'st with thine own eyes                     400
    His death, or from some wand'rer of the Greeks
    Hast heard it; for no common woes, alas!
    Was he ordain'd to share ev'n from the womb.
    Neither through pity or o'erstrain'd respect
    Flatter me, but explicit all relate
    Which thou hast witness'd. If my noble Sire
    E'er gratified thee by performance just
    Of word or deed at Ilium, where ye fell
    So num'rous slain in fight, oh recollect
    Now his fidelity, and tell me true!                              410
      Then Menelaus, sighing deep, replied.
    Gods! their ambition is to reach the bed
    Of a brave man, however base themselves.
    But as it chances, when the hart hath lay'd
    Her fawns new-yean'd and sucklings yet, to rest
    Within some dreadful lion's gloomy den,
    She roams the hills, and in the grassy vales
    Feeds heedless, till the lion, to his lair
    Return'd, destroys her and her little-ones,
    So them thy Sire shall terribly destroy.                         420
    Jove, Pallas and Apollo! oh that such
    As erst in well-built Lesbos, where he strove
    With Philomelides, and threw him flat,
    A sight at which Achaia's sons rejoic'd,
    Such, now, Ulysses might assail them all!
    Short life and bitter nuptials should be theirs.
    But thy enquiries neither indirect
    Will I evade, nor give thee false reply,
    But all that from the Antient of the Deep[14]
    I have receiv'd will utter, hiding nought.                       430
      As yet the Gods on Ægypt's shore detained
    Me wishing home, angry at my neglect
    To heap their altars with slain hecatombs.
    For they exacted from us evermore
    Strict rev'rence of their laws. There is an isle
    Amid the billowy flood, Pharos by name,
    In front of Ægypt, distant from her shore
    Far as a vessel by a sprightly gale
    Impell'd, may push her voyage in a day.
    The haven there is good, and many a ship                         440
    Finds wat'ring there from riv'lets on the coast.
    There me the Gods kept twenty days, no breeze
    Propitious granting, that might sweep the waves,
    And usher to her home the flying bark.
    And now had our provision, all consumed,
    Left us exhausted, but a certain nymph
    Pitying saved me. Daughter fair was she
    Of mighty Proteus, Antient of the Deep,
    Idothea named; her most my sorrows moved;
    She found me from my followers all apart                         450
    Wand'ring (for they around the isle, with hooks
    The fishes snaring roamed, by famine urged)
    And standing at my side, me thus bespake.
      Stranger! thou must be ideot born, or weak
    At least in intellect, or thy delight
    Is in distress and mis'ry, who delay'st
    To leave this island, and no egress hence
    Canst find, although thy famish'd people faint.
      So spake the Goddess, and I thus replied.
    I tell thee, whosoever of the Pow'rs                             460
    Divine thou art, that I am prison'd here
    Not willingly, but must have, doubtless, sinn'd
    Against the deathless tenants of the skies.
    Yet say (for the Immortals all things know)
    What God detains me, and my course forbids
    Hence to my country o'er the fishy Deep?
      So I; to whom the Goddess all-divine.
    Stranger! I will inform thee true. A seer
    Oracular, the Antient of the Deep,
    Immortal Proteus, the Ægyptian, haunts                           470
    These shores, familiar with all Ocean's gulphs,
    And Neptune's subject. He is by report
    My father; him if thou art able once
    To seize and bind, he will prescribe the course
    With all its measured distances, by which
    Thou shalt regain secure thy native shores.
    He will, moreover, at thy suit declare,
    Thou favour'd of the skies! what good, what ill
    Hath in thine house befall'n, while absent thou
    Thy voyage difficult perform'st and long.                        480
      She spake, and I replied--Thyself reveal
    By what effectual bands I may secure
    The antient Deity marine, lest, warn'd
    Of my approach, he shun me and escape.
    Hard task for mortal hands to bind a God!
      Then thus Idothea answer'd all-divine.
    I will inform thee true. Soon as the sun
    Hath climb'd the middle heav'ns, the prophet old,
    Emerging while the breezy zephyr blows,
    And cover'd with the scum of ocean, seeks                        490
    His spacious cove, in which outstretch'd he lies.
    The phocæ[15] also, rising from the waves,
    Offspring of beauteous Halosydna, sleep
    Around him, num'rous, and the fishy scent
    Exhaling rank of the unfathom'd flood.
    Thither conducting thee at peep of day
    I will dispose thee in some safe recess,
    But from among thy followers thou shalt chuse
    The bravest three in all thy gallant fleet.
    And now the artifices understand                                 500
    Of the old prophet of the sea. The sum
    Of all his phocæ numb'ring duly first,
    He will pass through them, and when all by fives
    He counted hath, will in the midst repose
    Content, as sleeps the shepherd with his flock.
    When ye shall see him stretch'd, then call to mind
    That moment all your prowess, and prevent,
    Howe'er he strive impatient, his escape.
    All changes trying, he will take the form
    Of ev'ry reptile on the earth, will seem                         510
    A river now, and now devouring fire;
    But hold him ye, and grasp him still the more.
    And when himself shall question you, restored
    To his own form in which ye found him first
    Reposing, then from farther force abstain;
    Then, Hero! loose the Antient of the Deep,
    And ask him, of the Gods who checks thy course
    Hence to thy country o'er the fishy flood.
      So saying, she plunged into the billowy waste.
    I then, in various musings lost, my ships                        520
    Along the sea-beach station'd sought again,
    And when I reach'd my galley on the shore
    We supp'd, and sacred night falling from heav'n,
    Slept all extended on the ocean-side.
    But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn,
    Look'd rosy forth, pensive beside the shore
    I walk'd of Ocean, frequent to the Gods
    Praying devout, then chose the fittest three
    For bold assault, and worthiest of my trust.
    Meantime the Goddess from the bosom wide                         530
    Of Ocean rising, brought us thence four skins
    Of phocæ, and all newly stript, a snare
    Contriving subtle to deceive her Sire.
    Four cradles in the sand she scoop'd, then sat
    Expecting us, who in due time approach'd;
    She lodg'd us side by side, and over each
    A raw skin cast. Horrible to ourselves
    Proved that disguise whom the pernicious scent
    Of the sea-nourish'd phocæ sore annoy'd;
    For who would lay him down at a whale's side?                    540
    But she a potent remedy devised
    Herself to save us, who the nostrils sooth'd
    Of each with pure ambrosia thither brought
    Odorous, which the fishy scent subdued.
    All morning, patient watchers, there we lay;
    And now the num'rous phocæ from the Deep
    Emerging, slept along the shore, and he
    At noon came also, and perceiving there
    His fatted monsters, through the flock his course
    Took regular, and summ'd them; with the first                    550
    He number'd us, suspicion none of fraud
    Conceiving, then couch'd also. We, at once,
    Loud-shouting flew on him, and in our arms
    Constrain'd him fast; nor the sea-prophet old
    Call'd not incontinent his shifts to mind.
    First he became a long-maned lion grim,
    Then dragon, panther then, a savage boar,
    A limpid stream, and an o'ershadowing tree.
    We persevering held him, till at length
    The Antient of the Deep, skill'd as he is                        560
    In wiles, yet weary, question'd me, and said.
      Oh Atreus' son, by what confed'rate God
    Instructed liest thou in wait for me,
    To seize and hold me? what is thy desire?
      So He; to whom thus answer I return'd.
    Old Seer! thou know'st; why, fraudful, should'st thou ask?
    It is because I have been prison'd long
    Within this isle, whence I have sought in vain
    Deliv'rance, till my wonted courage fails.
    Yet say (for the Immortals all things know)                      570
    What God detains me, and my course forbids
    Hence to my country o'er the fishy Deep?
      So I; when thus the old one of the waves.
    But thy plain duty[16] was to have adored
    Jove, first, in sacrifice, and all the Gods,
    That then embarking, by propitious gales
    Impell'd, thou might'st have reach'd thy country soon.
    For thou art doom'd ne'er to behold again
    Thy friends, thy palace, or thy native shores,
    Till thou have seen once more the hallow'd flood                 580
    Of Ægypt, and with hecatombs adored
    Devout, the deathless tenants of the skies.
    Then will they speed thee whither thou desir'st.
      He ended, and my heart broke at his words,
    Which bade me pass again the gloomy gulph
    To Ægypt; tedious course, and hard to atchieve!
    Yet, though in sorrow whelm'd, I thus replied.
      Old prophet! I will all thy will perform.
    But tell me, and the truth simply reveal;
    Have the Achaians with their ships arrived                       590
    All safe, whom Nestor left and I, at Troy?
    Or of the Chiefs have any in their barks,
    Or in their followers' arms found a dire death
    Unlook'd for, since that city's siege we closed?
      I spake, when answer thus the God return'd.
    Atrides, why these questions? Need is none
    That thou should'st all my secrets learn, which once
    Reveal'd, thou would'st not long dry-eyed remain.
    Of those no few have died, and many live;
    But leaders, two alone, in their return                          600
    Have died (thou also hast had war to wage)
    And one, still living, roams the boundless sea.
      Ajax,[17] surrounded by his galleys, died.
    Him Neptune, first, against the bulky rocks
    The Gyræ drove, but saved him from the Deep;
    Nor had he perish'd, hated as he was
    By Pallas, but for his own impious boast
    In frenzy utter'd that he would escape
    The billows, even in the Gods' despight.
    Neptune that speech vain-glorious hearing, grasp'd               610
    His trident, and the huge Gyræan rock
    Smiting indignant, dash'd it half away;
    Part stood, and part, on which the boaster sat
    When, first, the brainsick fury seiz'd him, fell,
    Bearing him with it down into the gulphs
    Of Ocean, where he drank the brine, and died.
    But thy own brother in his barks escaped
    That fate, by Juno saved; yet when, at length,
    He should have gain'd Malea's craggy shore,
    Then, by a sudden tempest caught, he flew                        620
    With many a groan far o'er the fishy Deep
    To the land's utmost point, where once his home
    Thyestes had, but where Thyestes' son
    Dwelt then, Ægisthus. Easy lay his course
    And open thence, and, as it pleased the Gods,
    The shifted wind soon bore them to their home.
    He, high in exultation, trod the shore
    That gave him birth, kiss'd it, and, at the sight,
    The welcome sight of Greece, shed many a tear.
    Yet not unseen he landed; for a spy,                             630
    One whom the shrewd Ægisthus had seduced
    By promise of two golden talents, mark'd
    His coming from a rock where he had watch'd
    The year complete, lest, passing unperceived,
    The King should reassert his right in arms.
    Swift flew the spy with tidings to this Lord,
    And He, incontinent, this project framed
    Insidious. Twenty men, the boldest hearts
    Of all the people, from the rest he chose,
    Whom he in ambush placed, and others charged                     640
    Diligent to prepare the festal board.
    With horses, then, and chariots forth he drove
    Full-fraught with mischief, and conducting home
    The unsuspicious King, amid the feast
    Slew him, as at his crib men slay an ox.
    Nor of thy brother's train, nor of his train
    Who slew thy brother, one survived, but all,
    Welt'ring in blood together, there expired.
      He ended, and his words beat on my heart
    As they would break it. On the sands I sat                       650
    Weeping, nor life nor light desiring more.
    But when I had in dust roll'd me, and wept
    To full satiety, mine ear again
    The oracle of Ocean thus address'd.
     Sit not, O son of Atreus! weeping here
    Longer, for remedy can none be found;
    But quick arising, trial make, how best
    Thou shalt, and soonest, reach thy home again.
    For either him still living thou shalt find,
    Or ere thou come, Orestes shall have slain                       660
    The traytor, and thine eyes shall see his tomb.
      He ceas'd, and I, afflicted as I was,
    Yet felt my spirit at that word refresh'd,
    And in wing'd accents answer thus return'd.
      Of these I am inform'd; but name the third
    Who, dead or living, on the boundless Deep
    Is still detain'd; I dread, yet wish to hear.
      So I; to whom thus Proteus in return.
    Laertes' son, the Lord of Ithaca--
    Him in an island weeping I beheld,                               670
    Guest of the nymph Calypso, by constraint
    Her guest, and from his native land withheld
    By sad necessity; for ships well-oar'd,
    Or faithful followers hath he none, whose aid
    Might speed him safely o'er the spacious flood.
    But, Menelaus dear to Jove! thy fate
    Ordains not thee the stroke of death to meet
    In steed-fam'd Argos, but far hence the Gods
    Will send thee to Elysium, and the earth's
    Extremest bounds; (there Rhadamanthus dwells,                    680
    The golden-hair'd, and there the human kind
    Enjoy the easiest life; no snow is there,
    No biting winter, and no drenching show'r,
    But zephyr always gently from the sea
    Breathes on them to refresh the happy race)
    For that fair Helen is by nuptial bands
    Thy own, and thou art son-in-law of Jove.
      So saying, he plunged into the billowy waste,
    I then, with my brave comrades to the fleet
    Return'd, deep-musing as I went, and sad.                        690
    No sooner had I reach'd my ship beside
    The ocean, and we all had supp'd, than night
    From heav'n fell on us, and, at ease reposed
    Along the margin of the sea, we slept.
    But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn,
    Look'd rosy forth, drawing our galleys down
    Into the sacred Deep, we rear'd again
    The mast, unfurl'd the sail, and to our seats
    On board returning, thresh'd the foamy flood.
    Once more, at length, within the hallow'd stream                 700
    Of Ægypt mooring, on the shore I slew
    Whole hecatombs, and (the displeasure thus
    Of the immortal Gods appeased) I reared
    To Agamemnon's never-dying fame
    A tomb, and finishing it, sail'd again
    With such a gale from heaven vouchsafed, as sent
    My ships swift-scudding to the shores of Greece.
    But come--eleven days wait here, or twelve
    A guest with me, when I will send thee hence
    Nobly, and honour'd with illustrious gifts,                      710
    With polish'd chariot, with three princely steeds,
    And with a gorgeous cup, that to the Gods
    Libation pouring ever while thou liv'st
    From that same cup, thou may'st remember me.
      Him, prudent, then answer'd Telemachus.
    Atrides, seek not to detain me here
    Long time; for though contented I could sit
    The year beside thee, nor regret my home
    Or parents, (so delightful thy discourse
    Sounds in my ear) yet, even now, I know,                         720
    That my attendants to the Pylian shore
    Wish my return, whom thou thus long detain'st.
    What boon soe'er thou giv'st me, be it such
    As I may treasur'd keep; but horses none
    Take I to Ithaca; them rather far
    Keep thou, for thy own glory. Thou art Lord
    Of an extended plain, where copious springs
    The lotus, herbage of all savours, wheat,
    Pulse, and white barley of luxuriant growth.
    But Ithaca no level champaign owns,                              730
    A nursery of goats, and yet a land
    Fairer than even pastures to the eye.
    No sea-encircled isle of ours affords
    Smooth course commodious and expanse of meads,
    But my own Ithaca transcends them all!
      He said; the Hero Menelaus smiled,
    And stroaking tenderly his cheek, replied.
    Dear youth! thy speech proclaims thy noble blood.
    I can with ease supply thee from within
    With what shall suit thee better, and the gift                   740
    Of all that I possess which most excels
    In beauty, and the noblest shall be thine.
    I give thee, wrought elaborate, a cup
    Itself all silver, bound with lip of gold.
    It is the work of Vulcan, which to me
    The Hero Phædimus imparted, King
    Of the Sidonians, when on my return
    His house received me. That shall be thy own.
      Thus they conferr'd; and now the busy train
    Of menials culinary,[18] at the gate                             750
    Enter'd of Menelaus, Chief renown'd;
    They brought him sheep, with heart-ennobling wine,
    While all their wives, their brows with frontlets bound,
    Came charg'd with bread. Thus busy they prepared
    A banquet in the mansion of the King.
      Meantime, before Ulysses' palace gate
    The suitors sported with the quoit and spear
    On the smooth area, customary scene
    Of all their strife and angry clamour loud.
    There sat Antinoüs, and the godlike youth                        760
    Eurymachus, superior to the rest
    And Chiefs among them, to whom Phronius' son
    Noëmon drawing nigh, with anxious mien
    Question'd Antinoüs, and thus began.
      Know we, Antinoüs! or know we not,
    When to expect Telemachus at home
    Again from Pylus? in my ship he went,
    Which now I need, that I may cross the sea
    To Elis, on whose spacious plain I feed
    Twelve mares, each suckling a mule-colt as yet                   770
    Unbroken, but of which I purpose one
    To ferry thence, and break him into use.
      He spake, whom they astonish'd heard; for him
    They deem'd not to Nelëian Pylus gone,
    But haply into his own fields, his flocks
    To visit, or the steward of his swine.
    Then thus, Eupithes' son, Antinoüs, spake.
      Say true. When sail'd he forth? of all our youth,
    Whom chose he for his followers? his own train
    Of slaves and hirelings? hath he pow'r to effect                 780
    This also? Tell me too, for I would learn--
    Took he perforce thy sable bark away,
    Or gav'st it to him at his first demand?
      To whom Noëmon, Phronius' son, replied.
    I gave it voluntary; what could'st thou,
    Should such a prince petition for thy bark
    In such distress? Hard were it to refuse.
    Brave youths (our bravest youths except yourselves)
    Attend him forth; and with them I observed
    Mentor embarking, ruler o'er them all,                           790
    Or, if not him, a God; for such he seem'd.
    But this much moves my wonder. Yester-morn
    I saw, at day-break, noble Mentor here,
    Whom shipp'd for Pylus I had seen before.
      He ceas'd; and to his father's house return'd;
    They, hearing, sat aghast. Their games meantime
    Finish'd, the suitors on their seats reposed,
    To whom Eupithes' son, Antinoüs, next,
    Much troubled spake; a black storm overcharged
    His bosom, and his vivid eyes flash'd fire.                      800
      Ye Gods, a proud exploit is here atchieved,
    This voyage of Telemachus, by us
    Pronounced impracticable; yet the boy
    In downright opposition to us all,
    Hath headlong launched a ship, and, with a band
    Selected from our bravest youth, is gone.
    He soon will prove more mischievous, whose pow'r
    Jove wither, ere we suffer its effects!
    But give me a swift bark with twenty rowers,
    That, watching his return within the streights                   810
    Of rocky Samos and of Ithaca,
    I may surprise him; so shall he have sail'd
    To seek his Sire, fatally for himself.
      He ceased and loud applause heard in reply,
    With warm encouragement. Then, rising all,
    Into Ulysses' house at once they throng'd.
    Nor was Penelope left uninformed
    Long time of their clandestine plottings deep,
    For herald Medon told her all, whose ear
    Their councils caught while in the outer-court                   820
    He stood, and they that project framed within.
    Swift to Penelope the tale he bore,
    Who as he pass'd the gate, him thus address'd.
      For what cause, herald! have the suitors sent
    Thee foremost? Wou'd they that my maidens lay
    Their tasks aside, and dress the board for them?
    Here end their wooing! may they hence depart
    Never, and may the banquet now prepared,
    This banquet prove your last![19] who in such throngs
    Here meeting, waste the patrimony fair                           830
    Of brave Telemachus; ye never, sure,
    When children, heard how gracious and how good
    Ulysses dwelt among your parents, none
    Of all his people, or in word or deed
    Injuring, as great princes oft are wont,
    By favour influenc'd now, now by disgust.
    He no man wrong'd at any time; but plain
    Your wicked purpose in your deeds appears,
    Who sense have none of benefits conferr'd.
      Then Medon answer'd thus, prudent, return'd.                   840
    Oh Queen! may the Gods grant this prove the worst.
    But greater far and heavier ills than this
    The suitors plan, whose counsels Jove confound!
    Their base desire and purpose are to slay
    Telemachus on his return; for he,
    To gather tidings of his Sire is gone
    To Pylus, or to Sparta's land divine.
      He said; and where she stood, her trembling knees
    Fail'd under her, and all her spirits went.
    Speechless she long remain'd, tears filled her eyes,             850
    And inarticulate in its passage died
    Her utt'rance, till at last with pain she spake.
      Herald! why went my son? he hath no need
    On board swift ships to ride, which are to man
    His steeds that bear him over seas remote.
    Went he, that, with himself, his very name
    Might perish from among mankind for ever?
      Then answer, thus, Medon the wise return'd.
    I know not whether him some God impell'd
    Or his own heart to Pylus, there to hear                         860
    News of his Sire's return, or by what fate
    At least he died, if he return no more.
      He said, and traversing Ulysses' courts,
    Departed; she with heart consuming woe
    O'erwhelm'd, no longer could endure to take
    Repose on any of her num'rous seats,
    But on the threshold of her chamber-door
    Lamenting sat, while all her female train
    Around her moan'd, the antient and the young,
    Whom, sobbing, thus Penelope bespake.                            870
      Hear me, ye maidens! for of women born
    Coeval with me, none hath e'er received
    Such plenteous sorrow from the Gods as I,
    Who first my noble husband lost, endued
    With courage lion-like, of all the Greeks
    The Chief with ev'ry virtue most adorn'd,
    A prince all-excellent, whose glorious praise
    Through Hellas and all Argos flew diffused.
    And now, my darling son,--him storms have snatch'd
    Far hence inglorious, and I knew it not.                         880
    Ah treach'rous servants! conscious as ye were
    Of his design, not one of you the thought
    Conceived to wake me when he went on board.
    For had but the report once reach'd my ear,
    He either had not gone (how much soe'er
    He wish'd to leave me) or had left me dead.
    But haste ye,--bid my antient servant come,
    Dolion, whom (when I left my father's house
    He gave me, and whose office is to attend
    My num'rous garden-plants) that he may seek                      890
    At once Laertes, and may tell him all,
    Who may contrive some remedy, perchance,
    Or fit expedient, and shall come abroad
    To weep before the men who wish to slay
    Even the prince, godlike Ulysses' son.
      Then thus the gentle Euryclea spake,
    Nurse of Telemachus. Alas! my Queen!
    Slay me, or spare, deal with me as thou wilt,
    I will confess the truth. I knew it all.
    I gave him all that he required from me.                         900
    Both wine and bread, and, at his bidding, swore
    To tell thee nought in twelve whole days to come,
    Or till, enquiry made, thou should'st thyself
    Learn his departure, lest thou should'st impair
    Thy lovely features with excess of grief.
    But lave thyself, and, fresh attired, ascend
    To thy own chamber, there, with all thy train,
    To worship Pallas, who shall save, thenceforth,
    Thy son from death, what ills soe'er he meet.
    Add not fresh sorrows to the present woes                        910
    Of the old King, for I believe not yet
    Arcesias' race entirely by the Gods
    Renounced, but trust that there shall still be found
    Among them, who shall dwell in royal state,
    And reap the fruits of fertile fields remote.
      So saying, she hush'd her sorrow, and her eyes
    No longer stream'd. Then, bathed and fresh attired,
    Penelope ascended with her train
    The upper palace, and a basket stored
    With hallow'd cakes off'ring, to Pallas pray'd.                  920
      Hear matchless daughter of Jove Ægis-arm'd!
    If ever wise Ulysses offer'd here
    The thighs of fatted kine or sheep to thee,
    Now mindful of his piety, preserve
    His darling son, and frustrate with a frown
    The cruelty of these imperious guests!
      She said, and wept aloud, whose earnest suit
    Pallas received. And now the spacious hall
    And gloomy passages with tumult rang
    And clamour of that throng, when thus, a youth,                  930
    Insolent as his fellows, dared to speak.
      Much woo'd and long, the Queen at length prepares
    To chuse another mate,[20] and nought suspects
    The bloody death to which her son is doom'd.
      So he; but they, meantime, themselves remain'd
    Untaught, what course the dread concern elsewhere
    Had taken, whom Antinoüs thus address'd.
      Sirs! one and all, I counsel you, beware
    Of such bold boasting unadvised; lest one
    O'erhearing you, report your words within.                       940
    No--rather thus, in silence, let us move
    To an exploit so pleasant to us all.
      He said, and twenty chose, the bravest there,
    With whom he sought the galley on the shore,
    Which drawing down into the deep, they placed
    The mast and sails on board, and, sitting, next,
    Each oar in order to its proper groove,
    Unfurl'd and spread their canvas to the gale.
    Their bold attendants, then, brought them their arms,
    And soon as in deep water they had moor'd                        950
    The ship, themselves embarking, supp'd on board,
    And watch'd impatient for the dusk of eve.
      But when Penelope, the palace stairs
    Remounting, had her upper chamber reach'd,
    There, unrefresh'd with either food or wine,
    She lay'd her down, her noble son the theme
    Of all her thoughts, whether he should escape
    His haughty foes, or perish by their hands.
    Num'rous as are the lion's thoughts, who sees,
    Not without fear, a multitude with toils                         960
    Encircling him around, such num'rous thoughts
    Her bosom occupied, till sleep at length
    Invading her, she sank in soft repose.
      Then Pallas, teeming with a new design,
    Set forth an airy phantom in the form
    Of fair Iphthima, daughter of the brave
    Icarius, and Eumelus' wedded wife
    In Pheræ. Shaped like her the dream she sent
    Into the mansion of the godlike Chief
    Ulysses, with kind purpose to abate                              970
    The sighs and tears of sad Penelope.
    Ent'ring the chamber-portal, where the bolt
    Secured it, at her head the image stood,
    And thus, in terms compassionate, began.
      Sleep'st thou, distress'd Penelope? The Gods,
    Happy in everlasting rest themselves,
    Forbid thy sorrows. Thou shalt yet behold
    Thy son again, who hath by no offence
    Incurr'd at any time the wrath of heav'n.
      To whom, sweet-slumb'ring in the shadowy gate                  980
    By which dreams pass, Penelope replied.
      What cause, my sister, brings thee, who art seen
    Unfrequent here, for that thou dwell'st remote?
    And thou enjoin'st me a cessation too
    From sorrows num'rous, and which, fretting, wear
    My heart continual; first, my spouse I lost
    With courage lion-like endow'd, a prince
    All-excellent, whose never-dying praise
    Through Hellas and all Argos flew diffused;
    And now my only son, new to the toils                            990
    And hazards of the sea, nor less untaught
    The arts of traffic, in a ship is gone
    Far hence, for whose dear cause I sorrow more
    Than for his Sire himself, and even shake
    With terror, lest he perish by their hands
    To whom he goes, or in the stormy Deep;
    For num'rous are his foes, and all intent
    To slay him, ere he reach his home again.
      Then answer thus the shadowy form return'd.
    Take courage; suffer not excessive dread                        1000
    To overwhelm thee, such a guide he hath
    And guardian, one whom many wish their friend,
    And ever at their side, knowing her pow'r,
    Minerva; she compassionates thy griefs,
    And I am here her harbinger, who speak
    As thou hast heard by her own kind command.
      Then thus Penelope the wise replied.
    Oh! if thou art a goddess, and hast heard
    A Goddess' voice, rehearse to me the lot
    Of that unhappy one, if yet he live                             1010
    Spectator of the cheerful beams of day,
    Or if, already dead, he dwell below.
      Whom answer'd thus the fleeting shadow vain.
    I will not now inform thee if thy Lord
    Live, or live not. Vain words are best unspoken.
      So saying, her egress swift beside the bolt
    She made, and melted into air. Upsprang
    From sleep Icarius' daughter, and her heart
    Felt heal'd within her, by that dream distinct
    Visited in the noiseless night serene.                          1020
      Meantime the suitors urged their wat'ry way,
    To instant death devoting in their hearts
    Telemachus. There is a rocky isle
    In the mid sea, Samos the rude between
    And Ithaca, not large, named Asteris.
    It hath commodious havens, into which
    A passage clear opens on either side,
    And there the ambush'd Greeks his coming watch'd.


FOOTNOTES:

[9] Hesychius tells us, that the Greecians ornamented with much attention
the front wall of their courts for the admiration of passengers.

[10] Οφθαλμῶν τε βολαι.

[11] Antilochus was his brother.

[12] The son of Aurora, who slew Antilochus, was Memnon.

[13] Because Pisistratus was born after Antilochus had sailed to Troy.

[14] Proteus

[15] Seals, or sea-calves.

[16] From the abruptness of this beginning, Virgil, probably, who has
copied the story, took the hint of his admired exordium.

    Nam quis te, juvenum confidentissime, nostras.
    Egit adire domos.

[17] Son of Oïleus.

[18] Δαιτυμων--generally signifies the founder of a feast; but we are
taught by Eustathius to understand by it, in this place, the persons
employed in preparing it.

[19] This transition from the third to the second person belongs to the
original, and is considered as a fine stroke of art in the poet, who
represents Penelope in the warmth of her resentment, forgetting where she
is, and addressing the suitors as if present.

[20] Mistaking, perhaps, the sound of her voice, and imagining that she
sang.--Vide Barnes in loco.




BOOK V

ARGUMENT

Mercury bears to Calypso a command from Jupiter that she dismiss Ulysses.
She, after some remonstrances, promises obedience, and furnishes him with
instruments and materials, with which he constructs a raft. He quits
Calypso's island; is persecuted by Neptune with dreadful tempests, but by
the assistance of a sea nymph, after having lost his raft, is enabled to
swim to Phæacia.


    Aurora from beside her glorious mate
    Tithonus now arose, light to dispense
    Through earth and heav'n, when the assembled Gods
    In council sat, o'er whom high-thund'ring Jove
    Presided, mightiest of the Pow'rs above.
    Amid them, Pallas on the num'rous woes
    Descanted of Ulysses, whom she saw
    With grief, still prison'd in Calypso's isle.
      Jove, Father, hear me, and ye other Pow'rs
    Who live for ever, hear! Be never King                            10
    Henceforth to gracious acts inclined, humane,
    Or righteous, but let ev'ry sceptred hand
    Rule merciless, and deal in wrong alone,
    Since none of all his people whom he sway'd
    With such paternal gentleness and love
    Remembers, now, divine Ulysses more.
    He, in yon distant isle a suff'rer lies
    Of hopeless sorrow, through constraint the guest
    Still of the nymph Calypso, without means
    Or pow'r to reach his native shores again,                        20
    Alike of gallant barks and friends depriv'd,
    Who might conduct him o'er the spacious Deep.
    Nor is this all, but enemies combine
    To slay his son ere yet he can return
    From Pylus, whither he hath gone to learn
    There, or in Sparta, tidings of his Sire.
      To whom the cloud-assembler God replied.
    What word hath pass'd thy lips, daughter belov'd?
    Hast thou not purpos'd that arriving soon
    At home, Ulysses shall destroy his foes?                          30
    Guide thou, Telemachus, (for well thou canst)
    That he may reach secure his native coast,
    And that the suitors baffled may return.
      He ceas'd, and thus to Hermes spake, his son.
    Hermes! (for thou art herald of our will
    At all times) to yon bright-hair'd nymph convey
    Our fix'd resolve, that brave Ulysses thence
    Depart, uncompanied by God or man.
    Borne on a corded raft, and suff'ring woe
    Extreme, he on the twentieth day shall reach,                     40
    Not sooner, Scherie the deep-soil'd, possess'd
    By the Phæacians, kinsmen of the Gods.
    They, as a God shall reverence the Chief,
    And in a bark of theirs shall send him thence
    To his own home, much treasure, brass and gold
    And raiment giving him, to an amount
    Surpassing all that, had he safe return'd,
    He should by lot have shared of Ilium's spoil.
    Thus Fate appoints Ulysses to regain
    His country, his own palace, and his friends.                     50
      He ended, nor the Argicide refused,
    Messenger of the skies; his sandals fair,
    Ambrosial, golden, to his feet he bound,
    Which o'er the moist wave, rapid as the wind,
    Bear him, and o'er th' illimitable earth,
    Then took his rod with which, at will, all eyes
    He closes soft, or opes them wide again.
    So arm'd, forth flew the valiant Argicide.
    Alighting on Pieria, down he stoop'd
    To Ocean, and the billows lightly skimm'd                         60
    In form a sew-mew, such as in the bays
    Tremendous of the barren Deep her food
    Seeking, dips oft in brine her ample wing.
    In such disguise o'er many a wave he rode,
    But reaching, now, that isle remote, forsook
    The azure Deep, and at the spacious grot,
    Where dwelt the amber-tressed nymph arrived,
    Found her within. A fire on all the hearth
    Blazed sprightly, and, afar-diffused, the scent
    Of smooth-split cedar and of cypress-wood                         70
    Odorous, burning, cheer'd the happy isle.
    She, busied at the loom, and plying fast
    Her golden shuttle, with melodious voice
    Sat chaunting there; a grove on either side,
    Alder and poplar, and the redolent branch
    Wide-spread of Cypress, skirted dark the cave.
    There many a bird of broadest pinion built
    Secure her nest, the owl, the kite, and daw
    Long-tongued, frequenter of the sandy shores.
    A garden-vine luxuriant on all sides                              80
    Mantled the spacious cavern, cluster-hung
    Profuse; four fountains of serenest lymph
    Their sinuous course pursuing side by side,
    Stray'd all around, and ev'ry where appear'd
    Meadows of softest verdure, purpled o'er
    With violets; it was a scene to fill
    A God from heav'n with wonder and delight.
    Hermes, Heav'n's messenger, admiring stood
    That sight, and having all survey'd, at length
    Enter'd the grotto; nor the lovely nymph                          90
    Him knew not soon as seen, for not unknown
    Each to the other the Immortals are,
    How far soever sep'rate their abodes.
    Yet found he not within the mighty Chief
    Ulysses; he sat weeping on the shore,
    Forlorn, for there his custom was with groans
    Of sad regret t' afflict his breaking heart.
    Looking continual o'er the barren Deep.
    Then thus Calypso, nymph divine, the God
    Question'd, from her resplendent throne august.                  100
      Hermes! possessor of the potent rod!
    Who, though by me much reverenc'd and belov'd,
    So seldom com'st, say, wherefore comest now?
    Speak thy desire; I grant it, if thou ask
    Things possible, and possible to me.
    Stay not, but ent'ring farther, at my board
    Due rites of hospitality receive.
      So saying, the Goddess with ambrosial food
    Her table cover'd, and with rosy juice
    Nectareous charged the cup. Then ate and drank                   110
    The argicide and herald of the skies,
    And in his soul with that repast divine
    Refresh'd, his message to the nymph declared.
      Questionest thou, O Goddess, me a God?
    I tell thee truth, since such is thy demand.
    Not willing, but by Jove constrain'd, I come.
    For who would, voluntary, such a breadth
    Enormous measure of the salt expanse,
    Where city none is seen in which the Gods
    Are served with chosen hecatombs and pray'r?                     120
    But no divinity may the designs
    Elude, or controvert, of Jove supreme.
    He saith, that here thou hold'st the most distrest
    Of all those warriors who nine years assail'd
    The city of Priam, and, (that city sack'd)
    Departed in the tenth; but, going thence,
    Offended Pallas, who with adverse winds
    Opposed their voyage, and with boist'rous waves.
    Then perish'd all his gallant friends, but him
    Billows and storms drove hither; Jove commands                   130
    That thou dismiss him hence without delay,
    For fate ordains him not to perish here
    From all his friends remote, but he is doom'd
    To see them yet again, and to arrive
    At his own palace in his native land.
      He said; divine Calypso at the sound
    Shudder'd, and in wing'd accents thus replied.
      Ye are unjust, ye Gods, and envious past
    All others, grudging if a Goddess take
    A mortal man openly to her arms!                                 140
    So, when the rosy-finger'd Morning chose
    Orion, though ye live yourselves at ease,
    Yet ye all envied her, until the chaste
    Diana from her golden throne dispatch'd
    A silent shaft, which slew him in Ortygia.
    So, when the golden-tressed Ceres, urged
    By passion, took Iäsion to her arms
    In a thrice-labour'd fallow, not untaught
    Was Jove that secret long, and, hearing it,
    Indignant, slew him with his candent bolt.                       150
    So also, O ye Gods, ye envy me
    The mortal man, my comfort. Him I saved
    Myself, while solitary on his keel
    He rode, for with his sulph'rous arrow Jove
    Had cleft his bark amid the sable Deep.
    Then perish'd all his gallant friends, but him
    Billows and storms drove hither, whom I lov'd
    Sincere, and fondly destin'd to a life
    Immortal, unobnoxious to decay.
    But since no Deity may the designs                               160
    Elude or controvert of Jove supreme,
    Hence with him o'er the barren Deep, if such
    The Sov'reign's will, and such his stern command.
    But undismiss'd he goes by me, who ships
    Myself well-oar'd and mariners have none
    To send with him athwart the spacious flood;
    Yet freely, readily, my best advice
    I will afford him, that, escaping all
    Danger, he may regain his native shore.
      Then Hermes thus, the messenger of heav'n.                     170
    Act as thou say'st, fearing the frown of Jove,
    Lest, if provoked, he spare not even thee.
      So saying, the dauntless Argicide withdrew,
    And she (Jove's mandate heard) all-graceful went,
    Seeking the brave Ulysses; on the shore
    She found him seated; tears succeeding tears
    Delug'd his eyes, while, hopeless of return,
    Life's precious hours to eating cares he gave
    Continual, with the nymph now charm'd no more.
    Yet, cold as she was am'rous, still he pass'd                    180
    His nights beside her in the hollow grot,
    Constrain'd, and day by day the rocks among
    Which lined the shore heart-broken sat, and oft
    While wistfully he eyed the barren Deep,
    Wept, groaned, desponded, sigh'd, and wept again.
    Then, drawing near, thus spake the nymph divine.
      Unhappy! weep not here, nor life consume
    In anguish; go; thou hast my glad consent.
    Arise to labour; hewing down the trunks
    Of lofty trees, fashion them with the ax                         190
    To a broad raft, which closely floor'd above,
    Shall hence convey thee o'er the gloomy Deep.
    Bread, water, and the red grape's cheering juice
    Myself will put on board, which shall preserve
    Thy life from famine; I will also give
    New raiment for thy limbs, and will dispatch
    Winds after thee to waft thee home unharm'd,
    If such the pleasure of the Gods who dwell
    In yonder boundless heav'n, superior far
    To me, in knowledge and in skill to judge.                       200
      She ceas'd; but horror at that sound the heart
    Chill'd of Ulysses, and in accents wing'd
    With wonder, thus the noble Chief replied.
      Ah! other thoughts than of my safe return
    Employ thee, Goddess, now, who bid'st me pass
    The perilous gulph of Ocean on a raft,
    That wild expanse terrible, which even ships
    Pass not, though form'd to cleave their way with ease,
    And joyful in propitious winds from Jove.
    No--let me never, in despight of thee,                           210
    Embark on board a raft, nor till thou swear,
    O Goddess! the inviolable oath,
    That future mischief thou intend'st me none.
      He said; Calypso, beauteous Goddess, smiled,
    And, while she spake, stroaking his cheek, replied.
      Thou dost asperse me rudely, and excuse
    Of ignorance hast none, far better taught;
    What words were these? How could'st thou thus reply?
    Now hear me Earth, and the wide Heav'n above!
    Hear, too, ye waters of the Stygian stream                       220
    Under the earth (by which the blessed Gods
    Swear trembling, and revere the awful oath!)
    That future mischief I intend thee none.
    No, my designs concerning thee are such
    As, in an exigence resembling thine,
    Myself, most sure, should for myself conceive.
    I have a mind more equal, not of steel
    My heart is form'd, but much to pity inclined.
      So saying, the lovely Goddess with swift pace
    Led on, whose footsteps he as swift pursued.                     230
    Within the vaulted cavern they arrived,
    The Goddess and the man; on the same throne
    Ulysses sat, whence Hermes had aris'n,
    And viands of all kinds, such as sustain
    The life of mortal man, Calypso placed
    Before him, both for bev'rage and for food.
    She opposite to the illustrious Chief
    Reposed, by her attendant maidens served
    With nectar and ambrosia. They their hands
    Stretch'd forth together to the ready feast,                     240
    And when nor hunger more nor thirst remain'd
    Unsated, thus the beauteous nymph began.
      Laertes' noble son, for wisdom famed
    And artifice! oh canst thou thus resolve
    To seek, incontinent, thy native shores?
    I pardon thee. Farewell! but could'st thou guess
    The woes which fate ordains thee to endure
    Ere yet thou reach thy country, well-content
    Here to inhabit, thou would'st keep my grot
    And be immortal, howsoe'er thy wife                              250
    Engage thy ev'ry wish day after day.
    Yet can I not in stature or in form
    Myself suspect inferior aught to her,
    Since competition cannot be between
    Mere mortal beauties, and a form divine.
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    Awful Divinity! be not incensed.
    I know that my Penelope in form
    And stature altogether yields to thee,
    For she is mortal, and immortal thou,                            260
    From age exempt; yet not the less I wish
    My home, and languish daily to return.
    But should some God amid the sable Deep
    Dash me again into a wreck, my soul
    Shall bear _that_ also; for, by practice taught,
    I have learned patience, having much endured
    By tempest and in battle both. Come then
    This evil also! I am well prepared.
      He ended, and the sun sinking, resign'd
    The earth to darkness. Then in a recess                          270
    Interior of the cavern, side by side
    Reposed, they took their amorous delight.
    But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn,
    Look'd rosy forth, Ulysses then in haste
    Put on his vest and mantle, and, the nymph
    Her snowy vesture of transparent woof,
    Graceful, redundant; to her waist she bound
    Her golden zone, and veil'd her beauteous head,
    Then, musing, plann'd the noble Chief's return.
    She gave him, fitted to the grasp, an ax                         280
    Of iron, pond'rous, double-edg'd, with haft
    Of olive-wood, inserted firm, and wrought
    With curious art. Then, placing in his hand
    A polish'd adze, she led, herself, the way
    To her isles' utmost verge, where tallest trees
    But dry long since and sapless stood, which best
    Might serve his purposes, as buoyant most,
    The alder, poplar, and cloud-piercing fir.
    To that tall grove she led and left him there,
    Seeking her grot again. Then slept not He,                       290
    But, swinging with both hands the ax, his task
    Soon finish'd; trees full twenty to the ground
    He cast, which, dext'rous, with his adze he smooth'd,
    The knotted surface chipping by a line.
    Meantime the lovely Goddess to his aid
    Sharp augres brought, with which he bored the beams,
    Then, side by side placing them, fitted each
    To other, and with long cramps join'd them all.
    Broad as an artist, skill'd in naval works,
    The bottom of a ship of burthen spreads,                         300
    Such breadth Ulysses to his raft assign'd.
    He deck'd her over with long planks, upborne
    On massy beams; He made the mast, to which
    He added suitable the yard;--he framed
    Rudder and helm to regulate her course,
    With wicker-work he border'd all her length
    For safety, and much ballast stow'd within.
    Meantime, Calypso brought him for a sail
    Fittest materials, which he also shaped,
    And to his sail due furniture annex'd                            310
    Of cordage strong, foot-ropes, and ropes aloft,
    Then heav'd her down with levers to the Deep.
    He finish'd all his work on the fourth day,
    And on the fifth, Calypso, nymph divine,
    Dismiss'd him from her isle, but laved him first,
    And cloath'd him in sweet-scented garments new.
    Two skins the Goddess also placed on board,
    One charg'd with crimson wine, and ampler one
    With water, nor a bag with food replete
    Forgot, nutritious, grateful to the taste,                       320
    Nor yet, her latest gift, a gentle gale
    And manageable, which Ulysses spread,
    Exulting, all his canvas to receive.
    Beside the helm he sat, steering expert,
    Nor sleep fell ever on his eyes that watch'd
    Intent the Pleiads, tardy in decline
    Bootes, and the Bear, call'd else the Wain,
    Which, in his polar prison circling, looks
    Direct toward Orion, and alone
    Of these sinks never to the briny Deep.                          330
    That star the lovely Goddess bade him hold
    Continual on his left through all his course.
    Ten days and sev'n, he, navigating, cleav'd
    The brine, and on the eighteenth day, at length,
    The shadowy mountains of Phæacia's land
    Descried, where nearest to his course it lay
    Like a broad buckler on the waves afloat.
      But Neptune, now returning from the land
    Of Ethiopia, mark'd him on his raft
    Skimming the billows, from the mountain-tops                     340
    Of distant Solyma.[21] With tenfold wrath
    Inflamed that sight he view'd, his brows he shook,
    And thus within himself, indignant, spake.
      So then--new counsels in the skies, it seems,
    Propitious to Ulysses, have prevail'd
    Since Æthiopia hath been my abode.
    He sees Phæacia nigh, where he must leap
    The bound'ry of his woes; but ere that hour
    Arrive, I will ensure him many a groan.
      So saying, he grasp'd his trident, gather'd dense              350
    The clouds and troubled ocean; ev'ry storm
    From ev'ry point he summon'd, earth and sea
    Darkening, and the night fell black from heav'n.
    The East, the South, the heavy-blowing West,
    And the cold North-wind clear, assail'd at once
    His raft, and heaved on high the billowy flood.
    All hope, all courage, in that moment, lost,
    The Hero thus within himself complain'd.
      Wretch that I am, what destiny at last
    Attends me! much I fear the Goddess' words                       360
    All true, which threaten'd me with num'rous ills
    On the wide sea, ere I should reach my home.
    Behold them all fulfill'd! with what a storm
    Jove hangs the heav'ns, and agitates the Deep!
    The winds combined beat on me. Now I sink!
    Thrice blest, and more than thrice, Achaia's sons
    At Ilium slain for the Atridæ' sake!
    Ah, would to heav'n that, dying, I had felt
    That day the stroke of fate, when me the dead
    Achilles guarding, with a thousand spears                        370
    Troy's furious host assail'd! Funereal rites
    I then had shared, and praise from ev'ry Greek,
    Whom now the most inglorious death awaits.
      While thus he spake, a billow on his head
    Bursting impetuous, whirl'd the raft around,
    And, dashing from his grasp the helm, himself
    Plunged far remote. Then came a sudden gust
    Of mingling winds, that in the middle snapp'd
    His mast, and, hurried o'er the waves afar,
    Both sail and sail-yard fell into the flood.                     380
    Long time submerged he lay, nor could with ease
    The violence of that dread shock surmount,
    Or rise to air again, so burthensome
    His drench'd apparel proved; but, at the last,
    He rose, and, rising, sputter'd from his lips
    The brine that trickled copious from his brows.
    Nor, harass'd as he was, resign'd he yet
    His raft, but buffetting the waves aside
    With desp'rate efforts, seized it, and again
    Fast seated on the middle deck, escaped.                         390
    Then roll'd the raft at random in the flood,
    Wallowing unwieldy, toss'd from wave to wave.
    As when in autumn, Boreas o'er the plain
    Conglomerated thorns before him drives,
    They, tangled, to each other close adhere,
    So her the winds drove wild about the Deep.
    By turns the South consign'd her to be sport
    For the rude North-wind, and, by turns, the East
    Yielded her to the worrying West a prey.
    But Cadmus' beauteous daughter (Ino once,                        400
    Now named Leucothea) saw him; mortal erst
    Was she, and trod the earth,[22] but nymph become
    Of Ocean since, in honours shares divine.
    She mark'd his anguish, and, while toss'd he roam'd,
    Pitied Ulysses; from the flood, in form
    A cormorant, she flew, and on the raft
    Close-corded perching, thus the Chief address'd.
      Alas! unhappy! how hast thou incensed
    So terribly the Shaker of the shores,
    That he pursues thee with such num'rous ills?                    410
    Sink thee he cannot, wish it as he may.
    Thus do (for I account thee not unwise)
    Thy garments putting off, let drive thy raft
    As the winds will, then, swimming, strive to reach
    Phæacia, where thy doom is to escape.
    Take this. This ribbon bind beneath thy breast,
    Celestial texture. Thenceforth ev'ry fear
    Of death dismiss, and, laying once thy hands
    On the firm continent, unbind the zone,
    Which thou shalt cast far distant from the shore                 420
    Into the Deep, turning thy face away.
      So saying, the Goddess gave into his hand
    The wond'rous zone, and, cormorant in form,
    Plunging herself into the waves again
    Headlong, was hidden by the closing flood.
    But still Ulysses sat perplex'd, and thus
    The toil-enduring Hero reason'd sad.
      Alas! I tremble lest some God design
    T' ensnare me yet, bidding me quit the raft.
    But let me well beware how I obey                                430
    Too soon that precept, for I saw the land
    Of my foretold deliv'rance far remote.
    Thus, therefore, will I do, for such appears
    My wiser course. So long as yet the planks
    Mutual adhere, continuing on board
    My raft, I will endure whatever woes,
    But when the waves shall shatter it, I will swim,
    My sole resource then left. While thus he mused,
    Neptune a billow of enormous bulk
    Hollow'd into an overwhelming arch                               440
    On high up-heaving, smote him. As the wind
    Tempestuous, falling on some stubble-heap,
    The arid straws dissipates ev'ry way,
    So flew the timbers. He, a single beam
    Bestriding, oar'd it onward with his feet,
    As he had urged an horse. His raiment, then,
    Gift of Calypso, putting off, he bound
    His girdle on, and prone into the sea
    With wide-spread palms prepar'd for swimming, fell.
    Shore-shaker Neptune noted him; he shook                         450
    His awful brows, and in his heart he said,
      Thus, suff'ring many mis'ries roam the flood,
    Till thou shalt mingle with a race of men
    Heav'n's special favourites; yet even there
    Fear not that thou shalt feel thy sorrows light.
      He said, and scourging his bright steeds, arrived
    At Ægæ, where his glorious palace stands.
      But other thoughts Minerva's mind employ'd
    Jove's daughter; ev'ry wind binding beside,
    She lull'd them, and enjoin'd them all to sleep,                 460
    But roused swift Boreas, and the billows broke
    Before Ulysses, that, deliver'd safe
    From a dire death, the noble Chief might mix
    With maritime Phæacia's sons renown'd.
      Two nights he wander'd, and two days, the flood
    Tempestuous, death expecting ev'ry hour;
    But when Aurora, radiant-hair'd, had brought
    The third day to a close, then ceas'd the wind,
    And breathless came a calm; he, nigh at hand
    The shore beheld, darting acute his sight                        470
    Toward it, from a billow's tow'ring top.
      Precious as to his children seems the life
    Of some fond father through disease long time
    And pain stretch'd languid on his couch, the prey
    Of some vindictive Pow'r, but now, at last,
    By gracious heav'n to ease and health restored,
    So grateful to Ulysses' sight appear'd
    Forests and hills. Impatient with his feet
    To press the shore, he swam; but when within
    Such distance as a shout may fly, he came,                       480
    The thunder of the sea against the rocks
    Then smote his ear; for hoarse the billows roar'd
    On the firm land, belch'd horrible abroad,
    And the salt spray dimm'd all things to his view.
    For neither port for ships nor shelt'ring cove
    Was there, but the rude coast a headland bluff
    Presented, rocks and craggy masses huge.
    Then, hope and strength exhausted both, deep-groan'd
    The Chief, and in his noble heart complain'd.
      Alas! though Jove hath given me to behold,                     490
    Unhoped, the land again, and I have pass'd,
    Furrowing my way, these num'rous waves, there seems
    No egress from the hoary flood for me.
    Sharp stones hem in the waters; wild the surge
    Raves ev'ry where; and smooth the rocks arise;
    Deep also is the shore, on which my feet
    No standing gain, or chance of safe escape.
    What if some billow catch me from the Deep
    Emerging, and against the pointed rocks
    Dash me conflicting with its force in vain?                      500
    But should I, swimming, trace the coast in search
    Of sloping beach, haven or shelter'd creek,
    I fear lest, groaning, I be snatch'd again
    By stormy gusts into the fishy Deep,
    Or lest some monster of the flood receive
    Command to seize me, of the many such
    By the illustrious Amphitrite bred;
    For that the mighty Shaker of the shores
    Hates me implacable, too well I know.
      While such discourse within himself he held,                   510
    A huge wave heav'd him on the rugged coast,
    Where flay'd his flesh had been, and all his bones
    Broken together, but for the infused
    Good counsel of Minerva azure-eyed.
    With both hands suddenly he seized the rock,
    And, groaning, clench'd it till the billow pass'd.
    So baffled he that wave; but yet again
    The refluent flood rush'd on him, and with force
    Resistless dash'd him far into the sea.
    As pebbles to the hollow polypus                                 520
    Extracted from his stony bed, adhere,
    So he, the rough rocks clasping, stripp'd his hands
    Raw, and the billows now whelm'd him again.
    Then had the hapless Hero premature
    Perish'd, but for sagacity inspired
    By Pallas azure-eyed. Forth from the waves
    Emerging, where the surf burst on the rocks,
    He coasted (looking landward as he swam)
    The shore, with hope of port or level beach.
    But when, still swimming, to the mouth he came                   530
    Of a smooth-sliding river, there he deem'd
    Safest th' ascent, for it was undeform'd
    By rocks, and shelter'd close from ev'ry wind.
    He felt the current, and thus, ardent, pray'd.
      O hear, whate'er thy name, Sov'reign, who rul'st
    This river! at whose mouth, from all the threats
    Of Neptune 'scap'd, with rapture I arrive.
    Even the Immortal Gods the wand'rer's pray'r
    Respect, and such am I, who reach, at length,
    Thy stream, and clasp thy knees, after long toil.                540
    I am thy suppliant. Oh King! pity me.
      He said; the river God at once repress'd
    His current, and it ceas'd; smooth he prepared
    The way before Ulysses, and the land
    Vouchsafed him easy at his channel's mouth.
    There, once again he bent for ease his limbs
    Both arms and knees, in conflict with the floods
    Exhausted; swoln his body was all o'er,
    And from his mouth and nostrils stream'd the brine.
    Breathless and speechless, and of life well nigh                 550
    Bereft he lay, through dreadful toil immense.
    But when, revived, his dissipated pow'rs
    He recollected, loosing from beneath
    His breast the zone divine, he cast it far
    Into the brackish stream, and a huge wave
    Returning bore it downward to the sea,
    Where Ino caught it. Then, the river's brink
    Abandoning, among the rushes prone
    He lay, kiss'd oft the soil, and sighing, said,
    Ah me! what suff'rings must I now sustain,                       560
    What doom, at last, awaits me? If I watch
    This woeful night, here, at the river's side,
    What hope but that the frost and copious dews,
    Weak as I am, my remnant small of life
    Shall quite extinguish, and the chilly air
    Breath'd from the river at the dawn of day?
    But if, ascending this declivity
    I gain the woods, and in some thicket sleep,
    (If sleep indeed can find me overtoil'd
    And cold-benumb'd) then I have cause to fear                     570
    Lest I be torn by wild beasts, and devour'd.
      Long time he mused, but, at the last, his course
    Bent to the woods, which not remote he saw
    From the sea-brink, conspicuous on a hill.
    Arrived, between two neighbour shrubs he crept,
    Both olives, this the fruitful, that the wild;
    A covert, which nor rough winds blowing moist
    Could penetrate, nor could the noon-day sun
    Smite through it, or unceasing show'rs pervade,
    So thick a roof the ample branches form'd                        580
    Close interwoven; under these the Chief
    Retiring, with industrious hands a bed
    Collected broad of leaves, which there he found
    Abundant strew'd, such store as had sufficed
    Two travellers or three for cov'ring warm,
    Though winter's roughest blasts had rag'd the while.
    That bed with joy the suff'ring Chief renown'd
    Contemplated, and occupying soon
    The middle space, hillock'd it high with leaves.
    As when some swain hath hidden deep his torch                    590
    Beneath the embers, at the verge extreme
    Of all his farm, where, having neighbours none,
    He saves a seed or two of future flame
    Alive, doom'd else to fetch it from afar,
    So with dry leaves Ulysses overspread
    His body, on whose eyes Minerva pour'd
    The balm of sleep copious, that he might taste
    Repose again, after long toil severe.


FOOTNOTES:

[21] The Solymi were the ancient inhabitants of Pisidia in Asia-Minor.

[22] The Translator finding himself free to chuse between ἀυδηέσσα and
ἠδηέσσα, has preferred the latter.




BOOK VI

ARGUMENT

Minerva designing an interview between the daughter of Alcinoüs and
Ulysses, admonishes her in a dream to carry down her clothes to the
river, that she may wash them, and make them ready for her approaching
nuptials. That task performed, the Princess and her train amuse
themselves with play; by accident they awake Ulysses; he comes forth from
the wood, and applies himself with much address to Nausicaa, who
compassionating his distressed condition, and being much affected by the
dignity of his appearance, interests himself in his favour, and conducts
him to the city.


    There then the noble suff'rer lay, by sleep
    Oppress'd and labour; meantime, Pallas sought
    The populous city of Phæacia's sons.
    They, in old time, in Hypereia dwelt
    The spacious, neighbours of a giant race
    The haughty Cyclops, who, endued with pow'r
    Superior, troubled them with frequent wrongs.
    Godlike Nausithoüs then arose, who thence
    To Scheria led them, from all nations versed
    In arts of cultivated life, remote;                               10
    With bulwarks strong their city he enclosed,
    Built houses for them, temples to the Gods,
    And gave to each a portion of the soil.
    But he, already by decree of fate
    Had journey'd to the shades, and in his stead
    Alcinoüs, by the Gods instructed, reign'd.
    To his abode Minerva azure-eyed
    Repair'd, neglecting nought which might advance
    Magnanimous Ulysses' safe return.
    She sought the sumptuous chamber where, in form                   20
    And feature perfect as the Gods, the young
    Nausicaa, daughter of the King, reposed.
    Fast by the pillars of the portal lay
    Two damsels, one on either side, adorn'd
    By all the Graces, and the doors were shut.
    Soft as a breathing air, she stole toward
    The royal virgin's couch, and at her head
    Standing, address'd her. Daughter she appear'd
    Of Dymas, famed for maritime exploits,
    Her friend and her coeval; so disguised                           30
    Cærulean-eyed Minerva thus began.
      Nausicaa! wherefore hath thy mother borne
    A child so negligent? Thy garments share,
    Thy most magnificent, no thought of thine.
    Yet thou must marry soon, and must provide
    Robes for thyself, and for thy nuptial train.
    Thy fame, on these concerns, and honour stand;
    These managed well, thy parents shall rejoice.
    The dawn appearing, let us to the place
    Of washing, where thy work-mate I will be                         40
    For speedier riddance of thy task, since soon
    The days of thy virginity shall end;
    For thou art woo'd already by the prime
    Of all Phæacia, country of thy birth.
    Come then--solicit at the dawn of day
    Thy royal father, that he send thee forth
    With mules and carriage for conveyance hence
    Of thy best robes, thy mantles and thy zones.
    Thus, more commodiously thou shalt perform
    The journey, for the cisterns lie remote.                         50
      So saying, Minerva, Goddess azure-eyed,
    Rose to Olympus, the reputed seat
    Eternal of the Gods, which never storms
    Disturb, rains drench, or snow invades, but calm
    The expanse and cloudless shines with purest day.
    There the inhabitants divine rejoice
    For ever, (and her admonition giv'n)
    Cærulean-eyed Minerva thither flew.
      Now came Aurora bright-enthroned, whose rays
    Awaken'd fair Nausicaa; she her dream                             60
    Remember'd wond'ring, and her parents sought
    Anxious to tell them. Them she found within.
    Beside the hearth her royal mother sat,
    Spinning soft fleeces with sea-purple dyed
    Among her menial maidens, but she met
    Her father, whom the Nobles of the land
    Had summon'd, issuing abroad to join
    The illustrious Chiefs in council. At his side
    She stood, and thus her filial suit preferr'd.
      Sir![23] wilt thou lend me of the royal wains                   70
    A sumpter-carriage? for I wish to bear
    My costly cloaths but sullied and unfit
    For use, at present, to the river side.
    It is but seemly that thou should'st repair
    Thyself to consultation with the Chiefs
    Of all Phæacia, clad in pure attire;
    And my own brothers five, who dwell at home,
    Two wedded, and the rest of age to wed,
    Are all desirous, when they dance, to wear
    Raiment new bleach'd; all which is my concern.                    80
      So spake Nausicaa; for she dared not name
    Her own glad nuptials to her father's ear,
    Who, conscious yet of all her drift, replied.
      I grudge thee neither mules, my child, nor aught
    That thou canst ask beside. Go, and my train
    Shall furnish thee a sumpter-carriage forth
    High-built, strong-wheel'd, and of capacious size.
      So saying, he issued his command, whom quick
    His grooms obey'd. They in the court prepared
    The sumpter-carriage, and adjoin'd the mules.                     90
    And now the virgin from her chamber, charged
    With raiment, came, which on the car she placed,
    And in the carriage-chest, meantime, the Queen,
    Her mother, viands of all kinds disposed,
    And fill'd a skin with wine. Nausicaa rose
    Into her seat; but, ere she went, received
    A golden cruse of oil from the Queen's hand
    For unction of herself, and of her maids.
    Then, seizing scourge and reins, she lash'd the mules.
    They trampled loud the soil, straining to draw                   100
    Herself with all her vesture; nor alone
    She went, but follow'd by her virgin train.
    At the delightful rivulet arrived
    Where those perennial cisterns were prepared
    With purest crystal of the fountain fed
    Profuse, sufficient for the deepest stains,
    Loosing the mules, they drove them forth to browze
    On the sweet herb beside the dimpled flood.
    The carriage, next, light'ning, they bore in hand
    The garments down to the unsullied wave,                         110
    And thrust them heap'd into the pools, their task
    Dispatching brisk, and with an emulous haste.
    When they had all purified, and no spot
    Could now be seen, or blemish more, they spread
    The raiment orderly along the beach
    Where dashing tides had cleansed the pebbles most,
    And laving, next, and smoothing o'er with oil
    Their limbs, all seated on the river's bank,
    They took repast, leaving the garments, stretch'd
    In noon-day fervour of the sun, to dry.                          120
    Their hunger satisfied, at once arose
    The mistress and her train, and putting off
    Their head-attire, play'd wanton with the ball,
    The princess singing to her maids the while.
    Such as shaft-arm'd Diana roams the hills,
    Täygetus sky-capt, or Erymanth,
    The wild boar chasing, or fleet-footed hind,
    All joy; the rural nymphs, daughters of Jove,
    Sport with her, and Latona's heart exults;
    She high her graceful head above the rest                        130
    And features lifts divine, though all be fair,
    With ease distinguishable from them all;
    So, all her train, she, virgin pure, surpass'd.
      But when the hour of her departure thence
    Approach'd (the mules now yoked again, and all
    Her elegant apparel folded neat)
    Minerva azure-eyed mused how to wake
    Ulysses, that he might behold the fair
    Virgin, his destin'd guide into the town.
    The Princess, then, casting the ball toward                      140
    A maiden of her train, erroneous threw
    And plunged it deep into the dimpling stream.
    All shrieked; Ulysses at the sound awoke,
    And, sitting, meditated thus the cause.
      Ah me! what mortal race inhabit here?
    Rude are they, contumacious and unjust?
    Or hospitable, and who fear the Gods?
    So shrill the cry and feminine of nymphs
    Fills all the air around, such as frequent
    The hills, clear fountains, and herbaceous meads.                150
    Is this a neighbourhood of men endued
    With voice articulate? But what avails
    To ask; I will myself go forth and see.
      So saying, divine Ulysses from beneath
    His thicket crept, and from the leafy wood
    A spreading branch pluck'd forcibly, design'd
    A decent skreen effectual, held before.
    So forth he went, as goes the lion forth,
    The mountain-lion, conscious of his strength,
    Whom winds have vex'd and rains; fire fills his eyes,            160
    And whether herds or flocks, or woodland deer
    He find, he rends them, and, adust for blood,
    Abstains not even from the guarded fold,
    Such sure to seem in virgin eyes, the Chief,
    All naked as he was, left his retreat,
    Reluctant, by necessity constrain'd.
    Him foul with sea foam horror-struck they view'd,
    And o'er the jutting shores fled all dispersed.
    Nausicaa alone fled not; for her
    Pallas courageous made, and from her limbs,                      170
    By pow'r divine, all tremour took away.
    Firm she expected him; he doubtful stood,
    Or to implore the lovely maid, her knees
    Embracing, or aloof standing, to ask
    In gentle terms discrete the gift of cloaths,
    And guidance to the city where she dwelt.
    Him so deliberating, most, at length,
    This counsel pleas'd; in suppliant terms aloof
    To sue to her, lest if he clasp'd her knees,
    The virgin should that bolder course resent.                     180
    Then gentle, thus, and well-advised he spake.
      Oh Queen! thy earnest suppliant I approach.
    Art thou some Goddess, or of mortal race?
    For if some Goddess, and from heaven arrived,
    Diana, then, daughter of mighty Jove
    I deem thee most, for such as hers appear
    Thy form, thy stature, and thy air divine.
    But if, of mortal race, thou dwell below,
    Thrice happy then, thy parents I account,
    And happy thrice thy brethren. Ah! the joy                       190
    Which always for thy sake, their bosoms fill,
    When thee they view, all lovely as thou art,
    Ent'ring majestic on the graceful dance.
    But him beyond all others blest I deem,
    The youth, who, wealthier than his rich compeers,
    Shall win and lead thee to his honour'd home.
    For never with these eyes a mortal form
    Beheld I comparable aught to thine,
    In man or woman. Wonder-wrapt I gaze.
    Such erst, in Delos, I beheld a palm                             200
    Beside the altar of Apollo, tall,
    And growing still; (for thither too I sail'd,
    And num'rous were my followers in a voyage
    Ordain'd my ruin) and as then I view'd
    That palm long time amazed, for never grew
    So strait a shaft, so lovely from the ground,
    So, Princess! thee with wonder I behold,
    Charm'd into fixt astonishment, by awe
    Alone forbidden to embrace thy knees,
    For I am one on whom much woe hath fall'n.                       210
    Yesterday I escaped (the twentieth day
    Of my distress by sea) the dreary Deep;
    For, all those days, the waves and rapid storms
    Bore me along, impetuous from the isle
    Ogygia; till at length the will of heav'n
    Cast me, that I might also here sustain
    Affliction on your shore; for rest, I think,
    Is not for me. No. The Immortal Gods
    Have much to accomplish ere that day arrive.
    But, oh Queen, pity me! who after long                           220
    Calamities endured, of all who live
    Thee first approach, nor mortal know beside
    Of the inhabitants of all the land.
    Shew me your city; give me, although coarse,
    Some cov'ring (if coarse cov'ring _thou_ canst give)
    And may the Gods thy largest wishes grant,
    House, husband, concord! for of all the gifts
    Of heav'n, more precious none I deem, than peace
    'Twixt wedded pair, and union undissolved;
    Envy torments their enemies, but joy                             230
    Fills ev'ry virtuous breast, and most their own.
      To whom Nausicaa the fair replied.
    Since, stranger! neither base by birth thou seem'st,
    Nor unintelligent, (but Jove, the King
    Olympian, gives to good and bad alike
    Prosperity according to his will,
    And grief to thee, which thou must patient bear,)
    Now, therefore, at our land and city arrived,
    Nor garment thou shalt want, nor aught beside
    Due to a suppliant guest like thee forlorn.                      240
    I will both show thee where our city stands,
    And who dwell here. Phæacia's sons possess
    This land; but I am daughter of their King
    The brave Alcinoüs, on whose sway depends
    For strength and wealth the whole Phæacian race.
      She said, and to her beauteous maidens gave
    Instant commandment--My attendants, stay!
    Why flee ye thus, and whither, from the sight
    Of a mere mortal? Seems he in your eyes
    Some enemy of ours? The heart beats not,                         250
    Nor shall it beat hereafter, which shall come
    An enemy to the Phæacian shores,
    So dear to the immortal Gods are we.
    Remote, amid the billowy Deep, we hold
    Our dwelling, utmost of all human-kind,
    And free from mixture with a foreign race.
    This man, a miserable wand'rer comes,
    Whom we are bound to cherish, for the poor
    And stranger are from Jove, and trivial gifts
    To such are welcome. Bring ye therefore food                     260
    And wine, my maidens, for the guest's regale,
    And lave him where the stream is shelter'd most.
      She spake; they stood, and by each other's words
    Encouraged, placed Ulysses where the bank
    O'erhung the stream, as fair Nausicaa bade,
    Daughter of King Alcinoüs the renown'd.
    Apparel also at his side they spread,
    Mantle and vest, and, next, the limpid oil
    Presenting to him in the golden cruse,
    Exhorted him to bathe in the clear stream.                       270
    Ulysses then the maidens thus bespake.
      Ye maidens, stand apart, that I may cleanse,
    Myself, my shoulders from the briny surf,
    And give them oil which they have wanted long.
    But in your presence I bathe not, ashamed
    To show myself uncloath'd to female eyes.
      He said; they went, and to Nausicaa told
    His answer; then the Hero in the stream
    His shoulders laved, and loins incrusted rough
    With the salt spray, and with his hands the scum                 280
    Of the wild ocean from his locks express'd.
    Thus wash'd all over, and refresh'd with oil,
    He put the garments on, Nausicaa's gift.
    Then Pallas, progeny of Jove, his form
    Dilated more, and from his head diffused
    His curling locks like hyacinthine flowers.
    As when some artist, by Minerva made
    And Vulcan wise to execute all tasks
    Ingenious, binding with a golden verge
    Bright silver, finishes a graceful work,                         290
    Such grace the Goddess o'er his ample chest
    Copious diffused, and o'er his manly brows.
    Retiring, on the beach he sat, with grace
    And dignity illumed, where, viewing him,
    The virgin Princess, with amazement mark'd
    His beauty, and her damsels thus bespake.
      My white-arm'd maidens, listen to my voice!
    Not hated, sure, by all above, this man
    Among Phæacia's godlike sons arrives.
    At first I deem'd him of plebeian sort                           300
    Dishonourable, but he now assumes
    A near resemblance to the Gods above.
    Ah! would to heaven it were my lot to call
    Husband, some native of our land like him
    Accomplish'd, and content to inhabit here!
    Give him, my maidens, food, and give him wine.
      She ended; they obedient to her will,
    Both wine and food, dispatchful, placed, and glad,
    Before Ulysses; he rapacious ate,
    Toil-suff'ring Chief, and drank, for he had lived                310
    From taste of aliment long time estranged.
      On other thoughts meantime intent, her charge
    Of folded vestments neat the Princess placed
    Within the royal wain, then yoked the mules,
    And to her seat herself ascending, call'd
    Ulysses to depart, and thus she spake.
      Up, stranger! seek the city. I will lead
    Thy steps toward my royal Father's house,
    Where all Phæacia's Nobles thou shalt see.
    But thou (for I account thee not unwise)                         320
    This course pursue. While through the fields we pass,
    And labours of the rural hind, so long
    With my attendants follow fast the mules
    And sumpter-carriage. I will be thy guide.
    But, once the summit gain'd, on which is built
    Our city with proud bulwarks fenced around,
    And laved on both sides by its pleasant port
    Of narrow entrance, where our gallant barks
    Line all the road, each station'd in her place,
    And where, adjoining close the splendid fane                     330
    Of Neptune, stands the forum with huge stones
    From quarries thither drawn, constructed strong,
    In which the rigging of their barks they keep,
    Sail-cloth and cordage, and make smooth their oars;
    (For bow and quiver the Phæacian race
    Heed not, but masts and oars, and ships well-poised,
    With which exulting they divide the flood)
    Then, cautious, I would shun their bitter taunts
    Disgustful, lest they mock me as I pass;
    For of the meaner people some are coarse                         340
    In the extreme, and it may chance that one,
    The basest there seeing us shall exclaim--
    What handsome stranger of athletic form
    Attends the Princess? Where had she the chance
    To find him? We shall see them wedded soon.
    Either she hath received some vagrant guest
    From distant lands, (for no land neighbours ours)
    Or by her pray'rs incessant won, some God
    Hath left the heav'ns to be for ever hers.
    'Tis well if she have found, by her own search,                  350
    An husband for herself, since she accounts
    The Nobles of Phæacia, who her hand
    Solicit num'rous, worthy to be scorn'd--
    Thus will they speak, injurious. I should blame
    A virgin guilty of such conduct much,
    Myself, who reckless of her parents' will,
    Should so familiar with a man consort,
    Ere celebration of her spousal rites.
    But mark me, stranger! following my advice,
    Thou shalt the sooner at my father's hands                       360
    Obtain safe conduct and conveyance home.
    Sacred to Pallas a delightful grove
    Of poplars skirts the road, which we shall reach
    Ere long; within that grove a fountain flows,
    And meads encircle it; my father's farm
    Is there, and his luxuriant garden plot;
    A shout might reach it from the city-walls.
    There wait, till in the town arrived, we gain
    My father's palace, and when reason bids
    Suppose us there, then ent'ring thou the town,                   370
    Ask where Alcinoüs dwells, my valiant Sire.
    Well known is his abode, so that with ease
    A child might lead thee to it, for in nought
    The other houses of our land the house
    Resemble, in which dwells the Hero, King
    Alcinoüs. Once within the court received
    Pause not, but, with swift pace advancing, seek
    My mother; she beside a column sits
    In the hearth's blaze, twirling her fleecy threads
    Tinged with sea-purple, bright, magnificent!                     380
    With all her maidens orderly behind.
    There also stands my father's throne, on which
    Seated, he drinks and banquets like a God.
    Pass that; then suppliant clasp my mother's knees,
    So shalt thou quickly win a glad return
    To thy own home, however far remote.
    Her favour, once, and her kind aid secured,
    Thenceforth thou may'st expect thy friends to see,
    Thy dwelling, and thy native soil again.
    So saying, she with her splendid scourge the mules               390
    Lash'd onward. They (the stream soon left behind)
    With even footsteps graceful smote the ground;
    But so she ruled them, managing with art
    The scourge, as not to leave afar, although
    Following on foot, Ulysses and her train.
    The sun had now declined, when in that grove
    Renown'd, to Pallas sacred, they arrived,
    In which Ulysses sat, and fervent thus
    Sued to the daughter of Jove Ægis-arm'd.
      Daughter invincible of Jove supreme!                           400
    Oh, hear me! Hear me now, because when erst
    The mighty Shaker of the shores incensed
    Toss'd me from wave to wave, thou heard'st me not.
    Grant me, among Phæacia's sons, to find
    Benevolence and pity of my woes!
      He spake, whose pray'r well-pleas'd the Goddess heard,
    But, rev'rencing the brother of her sire,[24]
    Appear'd not to Ulysses yet, whom he
    Pursued with fury to his native shores.


FOOTNOTES:

[23] In the Original, she calls him, pappa! a more natural stile of
address and more endearing. But ancient as this appellative is, it is
also so familiar in modern use, that the Translator feared to hazard it.

[24] Neptune.




BOOK VII

ARGUMENT

Nausicaa returns from the river, whom Ulysses follows. He halts, by her
direction, at a small distance from the palace, which at a convenient
time he enters. He is well received by Alcinoüs and his Queen; and having
related to them the manner of his being cast on the shore of Scheria, and
received from Alcinoüs the promise of safe conduct home, retires to rest.


    Such pray'r Ulysses, toil-worn Chief renown'd,
    To Pallas made, meantime the virgin, drawn
    By her stout mules, Phæacia's city reach'd,
    And, at her father's house arrived, the car
    Stay'd in the vestibule; her brothers five,
    All godlike youths, assembling quick around,
    Released the mules, and bore the raiment in.
    Meantime, to her own chamber she return'd,
    Where, soon as she arrived, an antient dame
    Eurymedusa, by peculiar charge                                    10
    Attendant on that service, kindled fire.
    Sea-rovers her had from Epirus brought
    Long since, and to Alcinoüs she had fall'n
    By public gift, for that he ruled, supreme,
    Phæacia, and as oft as he harangued
    The multitude, was rev'renced as a God.
    She waited on the fair Nausicaa, she
    Her fuel kindled, and her food prepared.
    And now Ulysses from his seat arose
    To seek the city, around whom, his guard                          20
    Benevolent, Minerva, cast a cloud,
    Lest, haply, some Phæacian should presume
    T' insult the Chief, and question whence he came.
    But ere he enter'd yet the pleasant town,
    Minerva azure-eyed met him, in form
    A blooming maid, bearing her pitcher forth.
    She stood before him, and the noble Chief
    Ulysses, of the Goddess thus enquired.
      Daughter! wilt thou direct me to the house
    Of brave Alcinoüs, whom this land obeys?                          30
    For I have here arrived, after long toil,
    And from a country far remote, a guest
    To all who in Phæacia dwell, unknown.
      To whom the Goddess of the azure-eyes.
    The mansion of thy search, stranger revered!
    Myself will shew thee; for not distant dwells
    Alcinoüs from my father's own abode:
    But hush! be silent--I will lead the way;
    Mark no man; question no man; for the sight
    Of strangers is unusual here, and cold                            40
    The welcome by this people shown to such.
    They, trusting in swift ships, by the free grant
    Of Neptune traverse his wide waters, borne
    As if on wings, or with the speed of thought.
      So spake the Goddess, and with nimble pace
    Led on, whose footsteps he, as quick, pursued.
    But still the seaman-throng through whom he pass'd
    Perceiv'd him not; Minerva, Goddess dread,
    That sight forbidding them, whose eyes she dimm'd
    With darkness shed miraculous around                              50
    Her fav'rite Chief. Ulysses, wond'ring, mark'd
    Their port, their ships, their forum, the resort
    Of Heroes, and their battlements sublime
    Fenced with sharp stakes around, a glorious show!
    But when the King's august abode he reach'd,
    Minerva azure-eyed, then, thus began.
      My father! thou behold'st the house to which
    Thou bad'st me lead thee. Thou shalt find our Chiefs
    And high-born Princes banqueting within.
    But enter fearing nought, for boldest men                         60
    Speed ever best, come whencesoe'er they may.
    First thou shalt find the Queen, known by her name
    Areta; lineal in descent from those
    Who gave Alcinoüs birth, her royal spouse.
    Neptune begat Nausithoüs, at the first,
    On Peribæa, loveliest of her sex,
    Latest-born daughter of Eurymedon,
    Heroic King of the proud giant race,
    Who, losing all his impious people, shared
    The same dread fate himself. Her Neptune lov'd,                   70
    To whom she bore a son, the mighty prince
    Nausithoüs, in his day King of the land.
    Nausithoüs himself two sons begat,
    Rhexenor and Alcinoüs. Phoebus slew
    Rhexenor at his home, a bridegroom yet,
    Who, father of no son, one daughter left,
    Areta, wedded to Alcinoüs now,
    And whom the Sov'reign in such honour holds,
    As woman none enjoys of all on earth
    Existing, subjects of an husband's pow'r.                         80
    Like veneration she from all receives
    Unfeign'd, from her own children, from himself
    Alcinoüs, and from all Phæacia's race,
    Who, gazing on her as she were divine,
    Shout when she moves in progress through the town.
    For she no wisdom wants, but sits, herself,
    Arbitress of such contests as arise
    Between her fav'rites, and decides aright.
    Her count'nance once and her kind aid secured,
    Thou may'st thenceforth expect thy friends to see,                90
    Thy dwelling, and thy native soil again.
      So Pallas spake, Goddess cærulean-eyed,
    And o'er the untillable and barren Deep
    Departing, Scheria left, land of delight,
    Whence reaching Marathon, and Athens next,
    She pass'd into Erectheus' fair abode.
    Ulysses, then, toward the palace moved
    Of King Alcinoüs, but immers'd in thought
    Stood, first, and paused, ere with his foot he press'd
    The brazen threshold; for a light he saw                         100
    As of the sun or moon illuming clear
    The palace of Phæacia's mighty King.
    Walls plated bright with brass, on either side
    Stretch'd from the portal to th' interior house,
    With azure cornice crown'd; the doors were gold
    Which shut the palace fast; silver the posts
    Rear'd on a brazen threshold, and above,
    The lintels, silver, architraved with gold.
    Mastiffs, in gold and silver, lined the approach
    On either side, by art celestial framed                          110
    Of Vulcan, guardians of Alcinoüs' gate
    For ever, unobnoxious to decay.
    Sheer from the threshold to the inner house
    Fixt thrones the walls, through all their length, adorn'd,
    With mantles overspread of subtlest warp
    Transparent, work of many a female hand.
    On these the princes of Phæacia sat,
    Holding perpetual feasts, while golden youths
    On all the sumptuous altars stood, their hands
    With burning torches charged, which, night by night,             120
    Shed radiance over all the festive throng.
    Full fifty female menials serv'd the King
    In household offices; the rapid mills
    These turning, pulverize the mellow'd grain,
    Those, seated orderly, the purple fleece
    Wind off, or ply the loom, restless as leaves
    Of lofty poplars fluttering in the breeze;
    Bright as with oil the new-wrought texture shone.[25]
    Far as Phæacian mariners all else
    Surpass, the swift ship urging through the floods,               130
    So far in tissue-work the women pass
    All others, by Minerva's self endow'd
    With richest fancy and superior skill.
    Without the court, and to the gates adjoin'd
    A spacious garden lay, fenced all around
    Secure, four acres measuring complete.
    There grew luxuriant many a lofty tree,
    Pomegranate, pear, the apple blushing bright,
    The honied fig, and unctuous olive smooth.
    Those fruits, nor winter's cold nor summer's heat                140
    Fear ever, fail not, wither not, but hang
    Perennial, whose unceasing zephyr breathes
    Gently on all, enlarging these, and those
    Maturing genial; in an endless course
    Pears after pears to full dimensions swell,
    Figs follow figs, grapes clust'ring grow again
    Where clusters grew, and (ev'ry apple stript)
    The boughs soon tempt the gath'rer as before.
    There too, well-rooted, and of fruit profuse,
    His vineyard grows; part, wide-extended, basks,                  150
    In the sun's beams; the arid level glows;
    In part they gather, and in part they tread
    The wine-press, while, before the eye, the grapes
    Here put their blossom forth, there, gather fast
    Their blackness. On the garden's verge extreme
    Flow'rs of all hues smile all the year, arranged
    With neatest art judicious, and amid
    The lovely scene two fountains welling forth,
    One visits, into ev'ry part diffus'd,
    The garden-ground, the other soft beneath                        160
    The threshold steals into the palace-court,
    Whence ev'ry citizen his vase supplies.
      Such were the ample blessings on the house
    Of King Alcinoüs by the Gods bestow'd.
      Ulysses wond'ring stood, and when, at length,
    Silent he had the whole fair scene admired,
    With rapid step enter'd the royal gate.
    The Chiefs he found and Senators within
    Libation pouring to the vigilant spy
    Mercurius, whom with wine they worshipp'd last                   170
    Of all the Gods, and at the hour of rest.
    Ulysses, toil-worn Hero, through the house
    Pass'd undelaying, by Minerva thick
    With darkness circumfus'd, till he arrived
    Where King Alcinoüs and Areta sat.
    Around Areta's knees his arms he cast,
    And, in that moment, broken clear away
    The cloud all went, shed on him from above.
    Dumb sat the guests, seeing the unknown Chief,
    And wond'ring gazed. He thus his suit preferr'd.                 180
      Areta, daughter of the Godlike Prince
    Rhexenor! suppliant at thy knees I fall,
    Thy royal spouse imploring, and thyself,
    (After ten thousand toils) and these your guests,
    To whom heav'n grant felicity, and to leave
    Their treasures to their babes, with all the rights
    And honours, by the people's suffrage, theirs!
    But oh vouchsafe me, who have wanted long
    And ardent wish'd my home, without delay
    Safe conduct to my native shores again!                          190
      Such suit he made, and in the ashes sat
    At the hearth-side; they mute long time remain'd,
    Till, at the last, the antient Hero spake
    Echeneus, eldest of Phæacia's sons,
    With eloquence beyond the rest endow'd,
    Rich in traditionary lore, and wise
    In all, who thus, benevolent, began.
      Not honourable to thyself, O King!
    Is such a sight, a stranger on the ground
    At the hearth-side seated, and in the dust.                      200
    Meantime, thy guests, expecting thy command,
    Move not; thou therefore raising by his hand
    The stranger, lead him to a throne, and bid
    The heralds mingle wine, that we may pour
    To thunder-bearing Jove, the suppliant's friend.
    Then let the cat'ress for thy guest produce
    Supply, a supper from the last regale.
      Soon as those words Alcinoüs heard, the King,
    Upraising by his hand the prudent Chief
    Ulysses from the hearth, he made him sit,                        210
    On a bright throne, displacing for his sake
    Laodamas his son, the virtuous youth
    Who sat beside him, and whom most he lov'd.
    And now, a maiden charg'd with golden ew'r
    And with an argent laver, pouring, first,
    Pure water on his hands, supply'd him, next,
    With a resplendent table, which the chaste
    Directress of the stores furnish'd with bread
    And dainties, remnants of the last regale.
    Then ate the Hero toil-inured, and drank,                        220
    And to his herald thus Alcinoüs spake.
      Pontonoüs! mingling wine, bear it around
    To ev'ry guest in turn, that we may pour
    To thunder-bearer Jove, the stranger's friend,
    And guardian of the suppliant's sacred rights.
      He said; Pontonoüs, as he bade, the wine
    Mingled delicious, and the cups dispensed
    With distribution regular to all.
    When each had made libation, and had drunk
    Sufficient, then, Alcinoüs thus began.                           230
      Phæacian Chiefs and Senators, I speak
    The dictates of my mind, therefore attend!
    Ye all have feasted--To your homes and sleep.
    We will assemble at the dawn of day
    More senior Chiefs, that we may entertain
    The stranger here, and to the Gods perform
    Due sacrifice; the convoy that he asks
    Shall next engage our thoughts, that free from pain
    And from vexation, by our friendly aid
    He may revisit, joyful and with speed,                           240
    His native shore, however far remote.
    No inconvenience let him feel or harm,
    Ere his arrival; but, arrived, thenceforth
    He must endure whatever lot the Fates
    Spun for him in the moment of his birth.
    But should he prove some Deity from heav'n
    Descended, then the Immortals have in view
    Designs not yet apparent; for the Gods
    Have ever from of old reveal'd themselves
    At our solemnities, have on our seats                            250
    Sat with us evident, and shared the feast;
    And even if a single traveller
    Of the Phæacians meet them, all reserve
    They lay aside; for with the Gods we boast
    As near affinity as do themselves
    The Cyclops, or the Giant race profane.[26]
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    Alcinoüs! think not so. Resemblance none
    In figure or in lineaments I bear
    To the immortal tenants of the skies,                            260
    But to the sons of earth; if ye have known
    A man afflicted with a weight of woe
    Peculiar, let me be with him compared;
    Woes even passing his could I relate,
    And all inflicted on me by the Gods.
    But let me eat, comfortless as I am,
    Uninterrupted; for no call is loud
    As that of hunger in the ears of man;
    Importunate, unreas'nable, it constrains
    His notice, more than all his woes beside.                       270
    So, I much sorrow feel, yet not the less
    Hear I the blatant appetite demand
    Due sustenance, and with a voice that drowns
    E'en all my suff'rings, till itself be fill'd.
    But expedite ye at the dawn of day
    My safe return into my native land,
    After much mis'ry; and let life itself
    Forsake me, may I but once more behold
    All that is mine, in my own lofty abode.
      He spake, whom all applauded, and advised,                     280
    Unanimous, the guest's conveyance home,
    Who had so fitly spoken. When, at length,
    All had libation made, and were sufficed,
    Departing to his house, each sought repose.
    But still Ulysses in the hall remain'd,
    Where, godlike King, Alcinoüs at his side
    Sat, and Areta; the attendants clear'd
    Meantime the board, and thus the Queen white-arm'd,
    (Marking the vest and mantle, which he wore
    And which her maidens and herself had made)                      290
    In accents wing'd with eager haste began.
      Stranger! the first enquiry shall be mine;
    Who art, and whence? From whom receiv'dst thou these?
    Saidst not--I came a wand'rer o'er the Deep?
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    Oh Queen! the task were difficult to unfold
    In all its length the story of my woes,
    For I have num'rous from the Gods receiv'd;
    But I will answer thee as best I may.
    There is a certain isle, Ogygia, placed                          300
    Far distant in the Deep; there dwells, by man
    Alike unvisited, and by the Gods,
    Calypso, beauteous nymph, but deeply skill'd
    In artifice, and terrible in pow'r,
    Daughter of Atlas. Me alone my fate
    Her miserable inmate made, when Jove
    Had riv'n asunder with his candent bolt
    My bark in the mid-sea. There perish'd all
    The valiant partners of my toils, and I
    My vessel's keel embracing day and night                         310
    With folded arms, nine days was borne along.
    But on the tenth dark night, as pleas'd the Gods,
    They drove me to Ogygia, where resides
    Calypso, beauteous nymph, dreadful in pow'r;
    She rescued, cherish'd, fed me, and her wish
    Was to confer on me immortal life,
    Exempt for ever from the sap of age.
    But me her offer'd boon sway'd not. Sev'n years
    I there abode continual, with my tears
    Bedewing ceaseless my ambrosial robes,                           320
    Calypso's gift divine; but when, at length,
    (Sev'n years elaps'd) the circling eighth arrived,
    She then, herself, my quick departure thence
    Advised, by Jove's own mandate overaw'd,
    Which even her had influenced to a change.
    On a well-corded raft she sent me forth
    With num'rous presents; bread she put and wine
    On board, and cloath'd me in immortal robes;
    She sent before me also a fair wind
    Fresh-blowing, but not dang'rous. Sev'nteen days                 330
    I sail'd the flood continual, and descried,
    On the eighteenth, your shadowy mountains tall
    When my exulting heart sprang at the sight,
    All wretched as I was, and still ordain'd
    To strive with difficulties many and hard
    From adverse Neptune; he the stormy winds
    Exciting opposite, my wat'ry way
    Impeded, and the waves heav'd to a bulk
    Immeasurable, such as robb'd me soon
    Deep-groaning, of the raft, my only hope;                        340
    For her the tempest scatter'd, and myself
    This ocean measur'd swimming, till the winds
    And mighty waters cast me on your shore.
    Me there emerging, the huge waves had dash'd
    Full on the land, where, incommodious most,
    The shore presented only roughest rocks,
    But, leaving it, I swam the Deep again,
    Till now, at last, a river's gentle stream
    Receiv'd me, by no rocks deform'd, and where
    No violent winds the shelter'd bank annoy'd.                     350
    I flung myself on shore, exhausted, weak,
    Needing repose; ambrosial night came on,
    When from the Jove-descended stream withdrawn,
    I in a thicket lay'd me down on leaves
    Which I had heap'd together, and the Gods
    O'erwhelm'd my eye-lids with a flood of sleep.
    There under wither'd leaves, forlorn, I slept
    All the long night, the morning and the noon,
    But balmy sleep, at the decline of day,
    Broke from me; then, your daughter's train I heard               360
    Sporting, with whom she also sported, fair
    And graceful as the Gods. To her I kneel'd.
    She, following the dictates of a mind
    Ingenuous, pass'd in her behaviour all
    Which even ye could from an age like hers
    Have hoped; for youth is ever indiscrete.
    She gave me plenteous food, with richest wine
    Refresh'd my spirit, taught me where to bathe,
    And cloath'd me as thou seest; thus, though a prey
    To many sorrows, I have told thee truth.                         370
      To whom Alcinoüs answer thus return'd.
    My daughter's conduct, I perceive, hath been
    In this erroneous, that she led thee not
    Hither, at once, with her attendant train,
    For thy first suit was to herself alone.
      Thus then Ulysses, wary Chief, replied.
    Blame not, O Hero, for so slight a cause
    Thy faultless child; she bade me follow them,
    But I refused, by fear and awe restrain'd,
    Lest thou should'st feel displeasure at that sight               380
    Thyself; for we are all, in ev'ry clime,
    Suspicious, and to worst constructions prone.
      So spake Ulysses, to whom thus the King.
    I bear not, stranger! in my breast an heart
    Causeless irascible; for at all times
    A temp'rate equanimity is best.
    And oh, I would to heav'n, that, being such
    As now thou art, and of one mind with me,
    Thou would'st accept my daughter, would'st become
    My son-in-law, and dwell contented here!                         390
    House would I give thee, and possessions too,
    Were such thy choice; else, if thou chuse it not,
    No man in all Phæacia shall by force
    Detain thee. Jupiter himself forbid!
    For proof, I will appoint thee convoy hence
    To-morrow; and while thou by sleep subdued
    Shalt on thy bed repose, they with their oars
    Shall brush the placid flood, till thou arrive
    At home, or at what place soe'er thou would'st,
    Though far more distant than Eubœa lies,                         400
    Remotest isle from us, by the report
    Of ours, who saw it when they thither bore
    Golden-hair'd Rhadamanthus o'er the Deep,
    To visit earth-born Tityus. To that isle
    They went; they reach'd it, and they brought him thence
    Back to Phæacia, in one day, with ease.
    Thou also shalt be taught what ships I boast
    Unmatch'd in swiftness, and how far my crews
    Excel, upturning with their oars the brine.
      He ceas'd; Ulysses toil-inur'd his words                       410
    Exulting heard, and, praying, thus replied.
      Eternal Father! may the King perform
    His whole kind promise! grant him in all lands
    A never-dying name, and grant to me
    To visit safe my native shores again!
      Thus they conferr'd; and now Areta bade
    Her fair attendants dress a fleecy couch
    Under the portico, with purple rugs
    Resplendent, and with arras spread beneath,
    And over all with cloaks of shaggy pile.                         420
    Forth went the maidens, bearing each a torch,
    And, as she bade, prepared in haste a couch
    Of depth commodious, then, returning, gave
    Ulysses welcome summons to repose.
      Stranger! thy couch is spread. Hence to thy rest.
    So they--Thrice grateful to his soul the thought
    Seem'd of repose. There slept Ulysses, then,
    On his carv'd couch, beneath the portico,
    But in the inner-house Alcinoüs found
    His place of rest, and hers with royal state                     430
    Prepared, the Queen his consort, at his side.


FOOTNOTES:

[25]
    Καιροσέων δ' οθονεων ἀπολείβεται ὑγρον ἔλαιον.

Pope has given no translation of this line in the text of his work, but
has translated it in a note. It is variously interpreted by commentators;
the sense which is here given of it is that recommended by Eustathius.

[26] The Scholiast explains the passage thus--We resemble the Gods in
righteousness as much as the Cyclops and Giants resembled each other in
impiety. But in this sense of it there is something intricate and
contrary to Homer's manner. We have seen that they derived themselves
from Neptune, which sufficiently justifies the above interpretation.




BOOK VIII

ARGUMENT

The Phæacians consult on the subject of Ulysses. Preparation is made for
his departure. Antinoüs entertains them at his table. Games follow the
entertainment. Demodocus the bard sings, first the loves of Mars and
Venus, then the introduction of the wooden horse into Troy. Ulysses, much
affected by his song, is questioned by Alcinoüs, whence, and who he is,
and what is the cause of his sorrow.


    But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn,
    Blush'd in the East, then from his bed arose
    The sacred might of the Phæacian King.
    Then uprose also, city-waster Chief,
    Ulysses, whom the King Alcinoüs
    Led forth to council at the ships convened.
    There, side by side, on polish'd stones they sat
    Frequent; meantime, Minerva in the form
    Of King Alcinoüs' herald ranged the town,
    With purpose to accelerate the return                             10
    Of brave Ulysses to his native home,
    And thus to ev'ry Chief the Goddess spake.
      Phæacian Chiefs and Senators, away!
    Haste all to council on the stranger held,
    Who hath of late beneath Alcinoüs' roof
    Our King arrived, a wand'rer o'er the Deep,
    But, in his form, majestic as a God.
      So saying, she roused the people, and at once
    The seats of all the senate-court were fill'd
    With fast-assembling throngs, no few of whom                      20
    Had mark'd Ulysses with admiring eyes.
    Then, Pallas o'er his head and shoulders broad
    Diffusing grace celestial, his whole form
    Dilated, and to the statelier height advanced,
    That worthier of all rev'rence he might seem
    To the Phæacians, and might many a feat
    Atchieve, with which they should assay his force.
      When, therefore, the assembly now was full,
    Alcinoüs, them addressing, thus began.
      Phæacian Chiefs and Senators! I speak                           30
    The dictates of my mind, therefore attend.
    This guest, unknown to me, hath, wand'ring, found
    My palace, either from the East arrived,
    Or from some nation on our western side.
    Safe conduct home he asks, and our consent
    Here wishes ratified, whose quick return
    Be it our part, as usual, to promote;
    For at no time the stranger, from what coast
    Soe'er, who hath resorted to our doors,
    Hath long complain'd of his detention here.                       40
    Haste--draw ye down into the sacred Deep
    A vessel of prime speed, and, from among
    The people, fifty and two youths select,
    Approved the best; then, lashing fast the oars,
    Leave her, that at my palace ye may make
    Short feast, for which myself will all provide.
    Thus I enjoin the crew; but as for those
    Of sceptred rank, I bid them all alike
    To my own board, that here we may regale
    The stranger nobly, and let none refuse.                          50
    Call, too, Demodocus, the bard divine,
    To share my banquet, whom the Gods have blest
    With pow'rs of song delectable, unmatch'd
    By any, when his genius once is fired.
      He ceas'd, and led the way, whom follow'd all
    The sceptred senators, while to the house
    An herald hasted of the bard divine.
    Then, fifty mariners and two, from all
    The rest selected, to the coast repair'd,
    And, from her station on the sea-bank, launched                   60
    The galley down into the sacred Deep.
    They placed the canvas and the mast on board,
    Arranged the oars, unfurl'd the shining sail,
    And, leaving her in depth of water moor'd,
    All sought the palace of Alcinoüs.
    There, soon, the portico, the court, the hall
    Were fill'd with multitudes of young and old,
    For whose regale the mighty monarch slew
    Two beeves, twelve sheep, and twice four fatted brawns.
    They slay'd them first, then busily their task                    70
    Administ'ring, prepared the joyous feast.
    And now the herald came, leading with care
    The tuneful bard; dear to the muse was he,
    Who yet appointed him both good and ill;
    Took from him sight, but gave him strains divine.
    For him, Pontonoüs in the midst disposed
    An argent-studded throne, thrusting it close
    To a tall column, where he hung his lyre
    Above his head, and taught him where it hung.
    He set before him, next, a polish'd board                         80
    And basket, and a goblet fill'd with wine
    For his own use, and at his own command.
    Then, all assail'd at once the ready feast,
    And when nor hunger more nor thirst they felt,
    Then came the muse, and roused the bard to sing
    Exploits of men renown'd; it was a song,
    In that day, to the highest heav'n extoll'd.
    He sang of a dispute kindled between
    The son of Peleus, and Laertes'[27] son,
    Both seated at a feast held to the Gods.                          90
    That contest Agamemnon, King of men,
    Between the noblest of Achaia's host
    Hearing, rejoiced; for when in Pytho erst
    He pass'd the marble threshold to consult
    The oracle of Apollo, such dispute
    The voice divine had to his ear announced;
    For then it was that, first, the storm of war
    Came rolling on, ordain'd long time to afflict
    Troy and the Greecians, by the will of Jove.
      So sang the bard illustrious; then his robe                    100
    Of purple dye with both hands o'er his head
    Ulysses drew, behind its ample folds
    Veiling his face, through fear to be observed
    By the Phæacians weeping at the song;
    And ever as the bard harmonious ceased,
    He wiped his tears, and, drawing from his brows
    The mantle, pour'd libation to the Gods.
    But when the Chiefs (for they delighted heard
    Those sounds) solicited again the bard,
    And he renew'd the strain, then cov'ring close                   110
    His count'nance, as before, Ulysses wept.
    Thus, unperceiv'd by all, the Hero mourn'd,
    Save by Alcinoüs; he alone his tears,
    (Beside him seated) mark'd, and his deep sighs
    O'erhearing, the Phæacians thus bespake.
      Phæacia's Chiefs and Senators, attend!
    We have regaled sufficient, and the harp
    Heard to satiety, companion sweet
    And seasonable of the festive hour.
    Now go we forth for honourable proof                             120
    Of our address in games of ev'ry kind,
    That this our guest may to his friends report,
    At home arriv'd, that none like us have learn'd
    To leap, to box, to wrestle, and to run.
      So saying, he led them forth, whose steps the guests
    All follow'd, and the herald hanging high
    The sprightly lyre, took by his hand the bard
    Demodocus, whom he the self-same way
    Conducted forth, by which the Chiefs had gone
    Themselves, for that great spectacle prepared.                   130
    They sought the forum; countless swarm'd the throng
    Behind them as they went, and many a youth
    Strong and courageous to the strife arose.
    Upstood Acroneus and Ocyalus,
    Elatreus, Nauteus, Prymneus, after whom
    Anchialus with Anabeesineus
    Arose, Eretmeus, Ponteus, Proreus bold,
    Amphialus and Thöon. Then arose,
    In aspect dread as homicidal Mars,
    Euryalus, and for his graceful form                              140
    (After Laodamas) distinguish'd most
    Of all Phæacia's sons, Naubolides.
    Three also from Alcinoüs sprung, arose,
    Laodamas, his eldest; Halius, next,
    His second-born; and godlike Clytoneus.
    Of these, some started for the runner's prize.
    They gave the race its limits.[28] All at once
    Along the dusty champaign swift they flew.
    But Clytoneus, illustrious youth, outstripp'd
    All competition; far as mules surpass                            150
    Slow oxen furrowing the fallow ground,
    So far before all others he arrived
    Victorious, where the throng'd spectators stood.
    Some tried the wrestler's toil severe, in which
    Euryalus superior proved to all.
    In the long leap Amphialus prevail'd;
    Elatreus most successful hurled the quoit,
    And at the cestus,[29] last, the noble son
    Of Scheria's King, Laodamas excell'd.
    When thus with contemplation of the games                        160
    All had been gratified, Alcinoüs' son
    Laodamas, arising, then address'd.
      Friends! ask we now the stranger, if he boast
    Proficiency in aught. His figure seems
    Not ill; in thighs, and legs, and arms he shews
    Much strength, and in his brawny neck; nor youth
    Hath left him yet, though batter'd he appears
    With num'rous troubles, and misfortune-flaw'd.
    Nor know I hardships in the world so sure
    To break the strongest down, as those by sea.                    170
      Then answer thus Euryalus return'd.
    Thou hast well said, Laodamas; thyself
    Approaching, speak to him, and call him forth.
      Which when Alcinoüs' noble offspring heard,
    Advancing from his seat, amid them all
    He stood, and to Ulysses thus began.
      Stand forth, oh guest, thou also; prove thy skill
    (If any such thou hast) in games like ours,
    Which, likeliest, thou hast learn'd; for greater praise
    Hath no man, while he lives, than that he know                   180
    His feet to exercise and hands aright.
    Come then; make trial; scatter wide thy cares,
    We will not hold thee long; the ship is launch'd
    Already, and the crew stand all prepared.
      To whom replied the wily Chief renown'd
    Wherefore, as in derision, have ye call'd
    Me forth, Laodamas, to these exploits?
    No games have I, but many a grief, at heart,
    And with far other struggles worn, here sit
    Desirous only of conveyance home,                                190
    For which both King and people I implore.
      Then him Euryalus aloud reproach'd.
    I well believ'd it, friend! in thee the guise
    I see not of a man expert in feats
    Athletic, of which various are perform'd
    In ev'ry land; thou rather seem'st with ships
    Familiar; one, accustom'd to controul
    Some crew of trading mariners; well-learn'd
    In stowage, pilotage, and wealth acquired
    By rapine, but of no gymnastic pow'rs.                           200
      To whom Ulysses, frowning dark, replied.
    Thou hast ill spoken, sir, and like a man
    Regardless whom he wrongs. Therefore the Gods
    Give not endowments graceful in each kind,
    Of body, mind, and utt'rance, all to one.
    This man in figure less excels, yet Jove
    Crowns him with eloquence; his hearers charm'd
    Behold him, while with modest confidence
    He bears the prize of fluent speech from all,
    And in the streets is gazed on as a God!                         210
    Another, in his form the Pow'rs above
    Resembles, but no grace around his words
    Twines itself elegant. So, thou in form
    Hast excellence to boast; a God, employ'd
    To make a master-piece in human shape,
    Could but produce proportions such as thine;
    Yet hast thou an untutor'd intellect.
    Thou much hast moved me; thy unhandsome phrase
    Hath roused my wrath; I am not, as thou say'st,
    A novice in these sports, but took the lead                      220
    In all, while youth and strength were on my side.
    But I am now in bands of sorrow held,
    And of misfortune, having much endured
    In war, and buffeting the boist'rous waves.
    Yet, though with mis'ry worn, I will essay
    My strength among you; for thy words had teeth
    Whose bite hath pinch'd and pain'd me to the proof.
      He said; and mantled as he was, a quoit
    Upstarting, seized, in bulk and weight all those
    Transcending far, by the Phæacians used.                         230
    Swiftly he swung, and from his vig'rous hand
    Sent it. Loud sang the stone, and as it flew
    The maritime Phæacians low inclined
    Their heads beneath it; over all the marks,
    And far beyond them, sped the flying rock.
    Minerva, in a human form, the cast
    Prodigious measur'd, and aloud exclaim'd.
      Stranger! the blind himself might with his hands
    Feel out the 'vantage here. Thy quoit disdains
    Fellowship with a crowd, borne far beyond.                       240
    Fear not a losing game; Phæacian none
    Will reach thy measure, much less overcast.
      She ceased; Ulysses, hardy Chief, rejoiced
    That in the circus he had found a judge
    So favorable, and with brisker tone,
    As less in wrath, the multitude address'd.
      Young men, reach this, and I will quickly heave
    Another such, or yet a heavier quoit.
    Then, come the man whose courage prompts him forth
    To box, to wrestle with me, or to run;                           250
    For ye have chafed me much, and I decline
    No strife with any here, but challenge all
    Phæacia, save Laodamas alone.
    He is mine host. Who combats with his friend?
    To call to proof of hardiment the man
    Who entertains him in a foreign land,
    Would but evince the challenger a fool,
    Who, so, would cripple his own interest there.
    As for the rest, I none refuse, scorn none,
    But wish for trial of you, and to match                          260
    In opposition fair my force with yours.
    There is no game athletic in the use
    Of all mankind, too difficult for me;
    I handle well the polish'd bow, and first
    Amid a thousand foes strike whom I mark,
    Although a throng of warriors at my side
    Imbattled, speed their shafts at the same time.
    Of all Achaia's sons who erst at Troy
    Drew bow, the sole who bore the prize from me
    Was Philoctetes; I resign it else                                270
    To none now nourish'd with the fruits of earth.
    Yet mean I no comparison of myself
    With men of antient times, with Hercules,
    Or with Oechalian Eurytus, who, both,
    The Gods themselves in archery defied.
    Soon, therefore, died huge Eurytus, ere yet
    Old age he reach'd; him, angry to be call'd
    To proof of archership, Apollo slew.
    But if ye name the spear, mine flies a length
    By no man's arrow reach'd; I fear no foil                        280
    From the Phæacians, save in speed alone;
    For I have suffer'd hardships, dash'd and drench'd
    By many a wave, nor had I food on board
    At all times, therefore I am much unstrung.
      He spake; and silent the Phæacians sat,
    Of whom alone Alcinoüs thus replied.
      Since, stranger, not ungraceful is thy speech,
    Who hast but vindicated in our ears
    Thy question'd prowess, angry that this youth
    Reproach'd thee in the presence of us all,                       290
    That no man qualified to give his voice
    In public, might affront thy courage more;
    Now mark me, therefore, that in time to come,
    While feasting with thy children and thy spouse,
    Thou may'st inform the Heroes of thy land
    Even of our proficiency in arts
    By Jove enjoin'd us in our father's days.
    We boast not much the boxer's skill, nor yet
    The wrestler's; but light-footed in the race
    Are we, and navigators well-inform'd.                            300
    Our pleasures are the feast, the harp, the dance,
    Garments for change; the tepid bath; the bed.
    Come, ye Phæacians, beyond others skill'd
    To tread the circus with harmonious steps,
    Come, play before us; that our guest, arrived
    In his own country, may inform his friends
    How far in seamanship we all excel,
    In running, in the dance, and in the song.
    Haste! bring ye to Demodocus his lyre
    Clear-toned, left somewhere in our hall at home.                 310
      So spake the godlike King, at whose command
    The herald to the palace quick return'd
    To seek the charming lyre. Meantime arose
    Nine arbiters, appointed to intend
    The whole arrangement of the public games,
    To smooth the circus floor, and give the ring
    Its compass, widening the attentive throng.
    Ere long the herald came, bearing the harp,
    With which Demodocus supplied, advanced
    Into the middle area, around whom                                320
    Stood blooming youths, all skilful in the dance.
    With footsteps justly timed all smote at once
    The sacred floor; Ulysses wonder-fixt,
    The ceaseless play of twinkling[30] feet admired.
      Then, tuning his sweet chords, Demodocus
    A jocund strain began, his theme, the loves
    Of Mars and Cytherea chaplet-crown'd;
    How first, clandestine, they embraced beneath
    The roof of Vulcan, her, by many a gift
    Seduced, Mars won, and with adult'rous lust                      330
    The bed dishonour'd of the King of fire.
    The sun, a witness of their amorous sport,
    Bore swift the tale to Vulcan; he, apprized
    Of that foul deed, at once his smithy sought,
    In secret darkness of his inmost soul
    Contriving vengeance; to the stock he heav'd
    His anvil huge, on which he forged a snare
    Of bands indissoluble, by no art
    To be untied, durance for ever firm.
    The net prepared, he bore it, fiery-wroth,                       340
    To his own chamber and his nuptial couch,
    Where, stretching them from post to post, he wrapp'd
    With those fine meshes all his bed around,
    And hung them num'rous from the roof, diffused
    Like spiders' filaments, which not the Gods
    Themselves could see, so subtle were the toils.
    When thus he had encircled all his bed
    On ev'ry side, he feign'd a journey thence
    To Lemnos, of all cities that adorn
    The earth, the city that he favours most.                        350
    Nor kept the God of the resplendent reins
    Mars, drowsy watch, but seeing that the famed
    Artificer of heav'n had left his home,
    Flew to the house of Vulcan, hot to enjoy
    The Goddess with the wreath-encircled brows.
    She, newly from her potent Sire return'd
    The son of Saturn, sat. Mars, ent'ring, seiz'd
    Her hand, hung on it, and thus urg'd his suit.
      To bed, my fair, and let us love! for lo!
    Thine husband is from home, to Lemnos gone,                      360
    And to the Sintians, men of barb'rous speech.
      He spake, nor she was loth, but bedward too
    Like him inclined; so then, to bed they went,
    And as they lay'd them down, down stream'd the net
    Around them, labour exquisite of hands
    By ingenuity divine inform'd.
    Small room they found, so prison'd; not a limb
    Could either lift, or move, but felt at once
    Entanglement from which was no escape.
    And now the glorious artist, ere he yet                          370
    Had reach'd the Lemnian isle, limping, return'd
    From his feign'd journey, for his spy the sun
    Had told him all. With aching heart he sought
    His home, and, standing in the vestibule,
    Frantic with indignation roar'd to heav'n,
    And roar'd again, summoning all the Gods.--
    Oh Jove! and all ye Pow'rs for ever blest!
    Here; hither look, that ye may view a sight
    Ludicrous, yet too monstrous to be borne,
    How Venus always with dishonour loads                            380
    Her cripple spouse, doating on fiery Mars!
    And wherefore? for that he is fair in form
    And sound of foot, I ricket-boned and weak.
    Whose fault is this? Their fault, and theirs alone
    Who gave me being; ill-employ'd were they
    Begetting me, one, better far unborn.
    See where they couch together on my bed
    Lascivious! ah, sight hateful to my eyes!
    Yet cooler wishes will they feel, I ween,
    To press my bed hereafter; here to sleep                         390
    Will little please them, fondly as they love.
    But these my toils and tangles will suffice
    To hold them here, till Jove shall yield me back
    Complete, the sum of all my nuptial gifts
    Paid to him for the shameless strumpet's sake
    His daughter, as incontinent as fair.
      He said, and in the brazen-floor'd abode
    Of Jove the Gods assembled. Neptune came
    Earth-circling Pow'r; came Hermes friend of man,
    And, regent of the far-commanding bow,                           400
    Apollo also came; but chaste reserve
    Bashful kept all the Goddesses at home.
    The Gods, by whose beneficence all live,
    Stood in the portal; infinite arose
    The laugh of heav'n, all looking down intent
    On that shrewd project of the smith divine,
    And, turning to each other, thus they said.
      Bad works speed ill. The slow o'ertakes the swift.
    So Vulcan, tardy as he is, by craft
    Hath outstript Mars, although the fleetest far                   410
    Of all who dwell in heav'n, and the light-heel'd
    Must pay the adult'rer's forfeit to the lame.
      So spake the Pow'rs immortal; then the King
    Of radiant shafts thus question'd Mercury.
      Jove's son, heaven's herald, Hermes, bounteous God!
    Would'st _thou_ such stricture close of bands endure
    For golden Venus lying at thy side?
      Whom answer'd thus the messenger of heav'n
    Archer divine! yea, and with all my heart;
    And be the bands which wind us round about                       420
    Thrice these innumerable, and let all
    The Gods and Goddesses in heav'n look on,
    So I may clasp Vulcan's fair spouse the while.
      He spake; then laugh'd the Immortal Pow'rs again.
    But not so Neptune; he with earnest suit
    The glorious artist urged to the release
    Of Mars, and thus in accents wing'd he said.
      Loose him; accept my promise; he shall pay
    Full recompense in presence of us all.
      Then thus the limping smith far-famed replied.                 430
    Earth-circler Neptune, spare me that request.
    Lame suitor, lame security.[31] What bands
    Could I devise for thee among the Gods,
    Should Mars, emancipated once, escape,
    Leaving both debt and durance, far behind?
      Him answer'd then the Shaker of the shores.
    I tell thee, Vulcan, that if Mars by flight
    Shun payment, I will pay, myself, the fine.
      To whom the glorious artist of the skies.
    Thou must not, canst not, shalt not be refused.                  440
      So saying, the might of Vulcan loos'd the snare,
    And they, detain'd by those coercive bands
    No longer, from the couch upstarting, flew,
    Mars into Thrace, and to her Paphian home
    The Queen of smiles, where deep in myrtle groves
    Her incense-breathing altar stands embow'r'd.
    Her there, the Graces laved, and oils diffused
    O'er all her form, ambrosial, such as add
    Fresh beauty to the Gods for ever young,
    And cloath'd her in the loveliest robes of heav'n.               450
      Such was the theme of the illustrious bard.
    Ulysses with delight that song, and all
    The maritime Phæacian concourse heard.
      Alcinoüs, then, (for in the dance they pass'd
    All others) call'd his sons to dance alone,
    Halius and Laodamas; they gave
    The purple ball into their hands, the work
    Exact of Polybus; one, re-supine,
    Upcast it high toward the dusky clouds,
    The other, springing into air, with ease                         460
    Received it, ere he sank to earth again.
    When thus they oft had sported with the ball
    Thrown upward, next, with nimble interchange
    They pass'd it to each other many a time,
    Footing the plain, while ev'ry youth of all
    The circus clapp'd his hands, and from beneath
    The din of stamping feet fill'd all the air.
      Then, turning to Alcinoüs, thus the wise
    Ulysses spake: Alcinoüs! mighty King!
    Illustrious above all Phæacia's sons!                            470
    Incomparable are ye in the dance,
    Ev'n as thou said'st. Amazement-fixt I stand!
      So he, whom hearing, the imperial might
    Exulted of Alcinoüs, and aloud
    To his oar-skill'd Phæacians thus he spake.
      Phæacian Chiefs and Senators, attend!
    Wisdom beyond the common stint I mark
    In this our guest; good cause in my account,
    For which we should present him with a pledge
    Of hospitality and love. The Chiefs                              480
    Are twelve, who, highest in command, controul
    The people, and the thirteenth Chief am I.
    Bring each a golden talent, with a vest
    Well-bleach'd, and tunic; gratified with these,
    The stranger to our banquet shall repair
    Exulting; bring them all without delay;
    And let Euryalus by word and gift
    Appease him, for his speech was unadvised.
      He ceas'd, whom all applauded, and at once
    Each sent his herald forth to bring the gifts,                   490
    When thus Euryalus his Sire address'd.
      Alcinoüs! o'er Phæacia's sons supreme!
    I will appease our guest, as thou command'st.
    This sword shall be his own, the blade all steel.
    The hilt of silver, and the unsullied sheath
    Of iv'ry recent from the carver's hand,
    A gift like this he shall not need despise.
      So saying, his silver-studded sword he gave
    Into his grasp, and, courteous, thus began.
      Hail, honour'd stranger! and if word of mine                   500
    Have harm'd thee, rashly spoken, let the winds
    Bear all remembrance of it swift away!
    May the Gods give thee to behold again
    Thy wife, and to attain thy native shore,
    Whence absent long, thou hast so much endured!
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    Hail also thou, and may the Gods, my friend,
    Grant thee felicity, and may never want
    Of this thy sword touch thee in time to come,
    By whose kind phrase appeas'd my wrath subsides!                 510
      He ended, and athwart his shoulders threw
    The weapon bright emboss'd. Now sank the sun,
    And those rich gifts arrived, which to the house
    Of King Alcinoüs the heralds bore.
    Alcinoüs' sons receiv'd them, and beside
    Their royal mother placed the precious charge.
    The King then led the way, at whose abode
    Arrived, again they press'd their lofty thrones,
    And to Areta thus the monarch spake.
      Haste, bring a coffer; bring thy best, and store               520
    A mantle and a sumptuous vest within;
    Warm for him, next, a brazen bath, by which
    Refresh'd, and viewing in fair order placed
    The noble gifts by the Phæacian Lords
    Conferr'd on him, he may the more enjoy
    Our banquet, and the bard's harmonious song.
    I give him also this my golden cup
    Splendid, elaborate; that, while he lives
    What time he pours libation forth to Jove
    And all the Gods, he may remember me.                            530
      He ended, at whose words Areta bade
    Her maidens with dispatch place o'er the fire
    A tripod ample-womb'd; obedient they
    Advanced a laver to the glowing hearth,
    Water infused, and kindled wood beneath
    The flames encircling bright the bellied vase,
    Warm'd soon the flood within. Meantime, the Queen
    Producing from her chamber-stores a chest
    All-elegant, within it placed the gold,
    And raiment, gifts of the Phæacian Chiefs,                       540
    With her own gifts, the mantle and the vest,
    And in wing'd accents to Ulysses said.
      Now take, thyself, the coffer's lid in charge;
    Girdle it quickly with a cord, lest loss
    Befall thee on thy way, while thou perchance
    Shalt sleep secure on board the sable bark.
      Which when Ulysses heard, Hero renown'd,
    Adjusting close the lid, he cast a cord
    Around it which with many a mazy knot
    He tied, by Circe taught him long before.                        550
    And now, the mistress of the household charge
    Summon'd him to his bath; glad he beheld
    The steaming vase, uncustom'd to its use
    E'er since his voyage from the isle of fair
    Calypso, although, while a guest with her,
    Ever familiar with it, as a God.
    Laved by attendant damsels, and with oil
    Refresh'd, he put his sumptuous tunic on
    And mantle, and proceeding from the bath
    To the symposium, join'd the num'rous guests;                    560
    But, as he pass'd, the Princess all divine
    Beside the pillars of the portal, lost
    In admiration of his graceful form,
    Stood, and in accents wing'd him thus address'd.
      Hail, stranger! at thy native home arrived
    Remember me, thy first deliv'rer here.
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    Nausicaa! daughter of the noble King
    Alcinoüs! So may Jove, high-thund'ring mate
    Of Juno, grant me to behold again                                570
    My native land, and my delightful home,
    As, even there, I will present my vows
    To thee, adoring thee as I adore
    The Gods themselves, virgin, by whom I live!
      He said, and on his throne beside the King
    Alcinoüs sat. And now they portion'd out
    The feast to all, and charg'd the cups with wine,
    And introducing by his hand the bard
    Phæacia's glory, at the column's side
    The herald placed Demodocus again.                               580
      Then, carving forth a portion from the loins
    Of a huge brawn, of which uneaten still
    Large part and delicate remain'd, thus spake
    Ulysses--Herald! bear it to the bard
    For his regale, whom I will soon embrace
    In spite of sorrow; for respect is due
    And veneration to the sacred bard
    From all mankind, for that the muse inspires
    Herself his song, and loves the tuneful tribe.
      He ended, and the herald bore his charge                       590
    To the old hero who with joy received
    That meed of honour at the bearer's hand.
    Then, all, at once, assail'd the ready feast,
    And hunger now, and thirst both satisfied,
    Thus to Demodocus Ulysses spake.
      Demodocus! I give thee praise above
    All mortals, for that either thee the muse
    Jove's daughter teaches, or the King, himself,
    Apollo; since thou so record'st the fate,
    With such clear method, of Achaia's host,                        600
    Their deeds heroic, and their num'rous toils,
    As thou hadst present been thyself, or learnt
    From others present there, the glorious tale.
    Come, then, proceed; that rare invention sing,
    The horse of wood, which by Minerva's aid
    Epeus framed, and which Ulysses erst
    Convey'd into the citadel of Troy
    With warriors fill'd, who lay'd all Ilium waste.
    These things rehearse regular, and myself
    Will, instant, publish in the ears of all                        610
    Thy fame, reporting thee a bard to whom
    Apollo free imparts celestial song.
      He ended; then Apollo with full force
    Rush'd on Demodocus, and he began
    What time the Greeks, first firing their own camp
    Steer'd all their galleys from the shore of Troy.
    Already, in the horse conceal'd, his band
    Around Ulysses sat; for Ilium's sons
    Themselves had drawn it to the citadel.
    And there the mischief stood. Then, strife arose                 620
    Among the Trojans compassing the horse,
    And threefold was the doubt; whether to cleave
    The hollow trunk asunder, or updrawn
    Aloft, to cast it headlong from the rocks,
    Or to permit the enormous image, kept
    Entire, to stand an off'ring to the Gods,
    Which was their destined course; for Fate had fix'd
    Their ruin sure, when once they had received
    Within their walls that engine huge, in which
    Sat all the bravest Greecians with the fate                      630
    Of Ilium charged, and slaughter of her sons.
    He sang, how, from the horse effused, the Greeks
    Left their capacious ambush, and the town
    Made desolate. To others, in his song,
    He gave the praise of wasting all beside,
    But told how, fierce as Mars, Ulysses join'd
    With godlike Menelaus, to the house
    Flew of Deiphobus; him there engaged
    In direst fight he sang, and through the aid
    Of glorious Pallas, conqu'ror over all.                          640
      So sang the bard illustrious, at whose song
    Ulysses melted, and tear after tear
    Fell on his cheeks. As when a woman weeps,
    Her husband, who hath fallen in defence
    Of his own city and his babes before
    The gates; she, sinking, folds him in her arms
    And, gazing on him as he pants and dies,
    Shrieks at the sight; meantime, the enemy
    Smiting her shoulders with the spear to toil
    Command her and to bondage far away,                             650
    And her cheek fades with horror at the sound;
    Ulysses, so, from his moist lids let fall,
    The frequent tear. Unnoticed by the rest
    Those drops, but not by King Alcinoüs, fell
    Who, seated at his side, his heavy sighs
    Remark'd, and the Phæacians thus bespake.
      Phæacian Chiefs and Senators attend!
    Now let Demodocus enjoin his harp
    Silence, for not alike grateful to all
    His music sounds; during our feast, and since                    660
    The bard divine began, continual flow
    The stranger's sorrows, by remembrance caused
    Of some great woe which wraps his soul around.
    Then, let the bard suspend his song, that all
    (As most befits th' occasion) may rejoice,
    Both guest and hosts together; since we make
    This voyage, and these gifts confer, in proof
    Of hospitality and unfeign'd love,
    Judging, with all wise men, the stranger-guest
    And suppliant worthy of a brother's place.                       670
    And thou conceal not, artfully reserv'd,
    What I shall ask, far better plain declared
    Than smother'd close; who art thou? speak thy name,
    The name by which thy father, mother, friends
    And fellow-citizens, with all who dwell
    Around thy native city, in times past
    Have known thee; for of all things human none
    Lives altogether nameless, whether good
    Or whether bad, but ev'ry man receives
    Ev'n in the moment of his birth, a name.                         680
    Thy country, people, city, tell; the mark
    At which my ships, intelligent, shall aim,
    That they may bear thee thither; for our ships
    No pilot need or helm, as ships are wont,
    But know, themselves, our purpose; know beside
    All cities, and all fruitful regions well
    Of all the earth, and with dark clouds involv'd
    Plough rapid the rough Deep, fearless of harm,
    (Whate'er betide) and of disast'rous wreck.
    Yet thus, long since, my father I have heard                     690
    Nausithoüs speaking; Neptune, he would say,
    Is angry with us, for that safe we bear
    Strangers of ev'ry nation to their home;
    And he foretold a time when he would smite
    In vengeance some Phæacian gallant bark
    Returning after convoy of her charge,
    And fix her in the sable flood, transform'd
    Into a mountain, right before the town.
      So spake my hoary Sire, which let the God
    At his own pleasure do, or leave undone.                         700
    But tell me truth, and plainly. Where have been
    Thy wand'rings? in what regions of the earth
    Hast thou arrived? what nations hast thou seen,
    What cities? say, how many hast thou found
    Harsh, savage and unjust? how many, kind
    To strangers, and disposed to fear the Gods?
    Say also, from what secret grief of heart
    Thy sorrows flow, oft as thou hear'st the fate
    Of the Achaians, or of Ilium sung?
    That fate the Gods prepared; they spin the thread                710
    Of man's destruction, that in after days
    The bard may make the sad event his theme.
    Perish'd thy father or thy brother there?
    Or hast thou at the siege of Ilium lost
    Father-in-law, or son-in-law? for such
    Are next and dearest to us after those
    Who share our own descent; or was the dead
    Thy bosom-friend, whose heart was as thy own?
    For worthy as a brother of our love
    The constant friend and the discrete I deem.                     720


FOOTNOTES:

[27] Agamemnon having inquired at Delphos, at what time the Trojan war
would end, was answered that the conclusion of it should happen at a time
when a dispute should arise between two of his principal commanders. That
dispute occurred at the time here alluded to, Achilles recommending force
as most likely to reduce the city, and Ulysses stratagem.

[28] Τοισι δ' απο νυσοης τετατο δρομος--This expression is by the
commentators generally understood to be significant of the effort which
they made at starting, but it is not improbable that it relates merely to
the measurement of the course, otherwise, καρπαλιμως επετοντο will be
tautologous.

[29] In boxing.

[30] The Translator is indebted to Mr Grey for an epithet more expressive
of the original (Μαρμαρυγας) than any other, perhaps, in all our
language. See the Ode on the Progress of Poetry.

    "To brisk notes in cadence beating,
    Glance their _many-twinkling_ feet"

[31] The original line has received such a variety of interpretations,
that a Translator seems free to choose. It has, however, a proverbial
turn, which I have endeavoured to preserve, and have adopted the sense of
the words which appears best to accord with what immediately follows.
Vulcan pleads his own inability to enforce the demand, as a circumstance
that made Neptune's promise unacceptable.




BOOK IX

ARGUMENT

Ulysses discovers himself to the Phæacians, and begins the history of his
adventures. He destroys Ismarus, city of the Ciconians; arrives among the
Lotophagi; and afterwards at the land of the Cyclops. He is imprisoned by
Polypheme in his cave, who devours six of his companions; intoxicates the
monster with wine, blinds him while he sleeps, and escapes from him.


    Then answer, thus, Ulysses wise return'd.
    Alcinoüs! King! illustrious above all
    Phæacia's sons, pleasant it is to hear
    A bard like this, sweet as the Gods in song.
    The world, in my account, no sight affords
    More gratifying than a people blest
    With cheerfulness and peace, a palace throng'd
    With guests in order ranged, list'ning to sounds
    Melodious, and the steaming tables spread
    With plenteous viands, while the cups, with wine                  10
    From brimming beakers fill'd, pass brisk around.
    No lovelier sight know I. But thou, it seems,
    Thy thoughts hast turn'd to ask me whence my groans
    And tears, that I may sorrow still the more.
    What first, what next, what last shall I rehearse,
    On whom the Gods have show'r'd such various woes?
    Learn first my name, that even in this land
    Remote I may be known, and that escaped
    From all adversity, I may requite
    Hereafter, this your hospitable care                              20
    At my own home, however distant hence.
    I am Ulysses, fear'd in all the earth
    For subtlest wisdom, and renown'd to heaven,
    The offspring of Laertes; my abode
    Is sun-burnt Ithaca; there waving stands
    The mountain Neritus his num'rous boughs,
    And it is neighbour'd close by clust'ring isles
    All populous; thence Samos is beheld,
    Dulichium, and Zacynthus forest-clad.
    Flat on the Deep she lies, farthest removed                       30
    Toward the West, while, situate apart,
    Her sister islands face the rising day;
    Rugged she is, but fruitful nurse of sons
    Magnanimous; nor shall these eyes behold,
    Elsewhere, an object dear and sweet as she.
    Calypso, beauteous Goddess, in her grot
    Detain'd me, wishing me her own espoused;
    Ææan Circe also, skill'd profound
    In potent arts, within her palace long
    Detain'd me, wishing me her own espoused;                         40
    But never could they warp my constant mind.
    So much our parents and our native soil
    Attract us most, even although our lot
    Be fair and plenteous in a foreign land.
    But come--my painful voyage, such as Jove
    Gave me from Ilium, I will now relate.
      From Troy the winds bore me to Ismarus,
    City of the Ciconians; them I slew,
    And laid their city waste; whence bringing forth
    Much spoil with all their wives, I portion'd it                   50
    With equal hand, and each received a share.
    Next, I exhorted to immediate flight
    My people; but in vain; they madly scorn'd
    My sober counsel, and much wine they drank,
    And sheep and beeves slew num'rous on the shore.
    Meantime, Ciconians to Ciconians call'd,
    Their neighbours summoning, a mightier host
    And braver, natives of the continent,
    Expert, on horses mounted, to maintain
    Fierce fight, or if occasion bade, on foot.                       60
    Num'rous they came as leaves, or vernal flow'rs
    At day-spring. Then, by the decree of Jove,
    Misfortune found us. At the ships we stood
    Piercing each other with the brazen spear,
    And till the morning brighten'd into noon,
    Few as we were, we yet withstood them all;
    But, when the sun verged westward, then the Greeks
    Fell back, and the Ciconian host prevail'd.
    Six warlike Greecians from each galley's crew
    Perish'd in that dread field; the rest escaped.                   70
      Thus, after loss of many, we pursued
    Our course, yet, difficult as was our flight,
    Went not till first we had invoked by name
    Our friends, whom the Ciconians had destroy'd.
    But cloud-assembler Jove assail'd us soon
    With a tempestuous North-wind; earth alike
    And sea with storms he overhung, and night
    Fell fast from heav'n. Their heads deep-plunging oft
    Our gallies flew, and rent, and rent again
    Our tatter'd sail-cloth crackled in the wind.                     80
    We, fearing instant death, within the barks
    Our canvas lodg'd, and, toiling strenuous, reach'd
    At length the continent. Two nights we lay
    Continual there, and two long days, consumed
    With toil and grief; but when the beauteous morn
    Bright-hair'd, had brought the third day to a close,
    (Our masts erected, and white sails unfurl'd)
    Again we sat on board; meantime, the winds
    Well managed by the steersman, urged us on.
    And now, all danger pass'd, I had attain'd                        90
    My native shore, but, doubling in my course
    Malea, waves and currents and North-winds
    Constrain'd me devious to Cythera's isle.
    Nine days by cruel storms thence was I borne
    Athwart the fishy Deep, but on the tenth
    Reach'd the Lotophagi, a race sustain'd
    On sweetest fruit alone. There quitting ship,
    We landed and drew water, and the crews
    Beside the vessels took their ev'ning cheer.
    When, hasty, we had thus our strength renew'd,                   100
    I order'd forth my people to inquire
    (Two I selected from the rest, with whom
    I join'd an herald, third) what race of men
    Might there inhabit. They, departing, mix'd
    With the Lotophagi; nor hostile aught
    Or savage the Lotophagi devised
    Against our friends, but offer'd to their taste
    The lotus; of which fruit what man soe'er
    Once tasted, no desire felt he to come
    With tidings back, or seek his country more,                     110
    But rather wish'd to feed on lotus still
    With the Lotophagi, and to renounce
    All thoughts of home. Them, therefore, I constrain'd
    Weeping on board, and dragging each beneath
    The benches, bound him there. Then, all in haste,
    I urged my people to ascend again
    Their hollow barks, lest others also, fed
    With fruit of lotus, should forget their home.
    They quick embark'd, and on the benches ranged
    In order, thresh'd with oars the foamy flood.                    120
      Thence, o'er the Deep proceeding sad, we reach'd
    The land at length, where, giant-sized[32] and free
    From all constraint of law, the Cyclops dwell.
    They, trusting to the Gods, plant not, or plough,
    But earth unsow'd, untill'd, brings forth for them
    All fruits, wheat, barley, and the vinous grape
    Large cluster'd, nourish'd by the show'rs of Jove.
    No councils they convene, no laws contrive,
    But in deep caverns dwell, found on the heads
    Of lofty mountains, judging each supreme                         130
    His wife and children, heedless of the rest.
    In front of the Cyclopean haven lies
    A level island, not adjoining close
    Their land, nor yet remote, woody and rude.
    There, wild goats breed numberless, by no foot
    Of man molested; never huntsman there,
    Inured to winter's cold and hunger, roams
    The dreary woods, or mountain-tops sublime;
    No fleecy flocks dwell there, nor plough is known,
    But the unseeded and unfurrow'd soil,                            140
    Year after year a wilderness by man
    Untrodden, food for blatant goats supplies.
    For no ships crimson-prow'd the Cyclops own,
    Nor naval artizan is there, whose toil
    Might furnish them with oary barks, by which
    Subsists all distant commerce, and which bear
    Man o'er the Deep to cities far remote
    Who might improve the peopled isle, that seems
    Not steril in itself, but apt to yield,
    In their due season, fruits of ev'ry kind.                       150
    For stretch'd beside the hoary ocean lie
    Green meadows moist, where vines would never fail;
    Light is the land, and they might yearly reap
    The tallest crops, so unctuous is the glebe.
    Safe is its haven also, where no need
    Of cable is or anchor, or to lash
    The hawser fast ashore, but pushing in
    His bark, the mariner might there abide
    Till rising gales should tempt him forth again.
    At bottom of the bay runs a clear stream                         160
    Issuing from a cove hemm'd all around
    With poplars; down into that bay we steer'd
    Amid the darkness of the night, some God
    Conducting us; for all unseen it lay,
    Such gloom involved the fleet, nor shone the moon
    From heav'n to light us, veil'd by pitchy clouds.
    Hence, none the isle descried, nor any saw
    The lofty surge roll'd on the strand, or ere
    Our vessels struck the ground; but when they struck,
    Then, low'ring all our sails, we disembark'd,                    170
    And on the sea-beach slept till dawn appear'd.
    Soon as Aurora, daughter of the dawn,
    Look'd rosy forth, we with admiring eyes
    The isle survey'd, roaming it wide around.
    Meantime, the nymphs, Jove's daughters, roused the goats
    Bred on the mountains, to supply with food
    The partners of my toils; then, bringing forth
    Bows and long-pointed javelins from the ships,
    Divided all into three sep'rate bands
    We struck them, and the Gods gave us much prey.                  180
    Twelve ships attended me, and ev'ry ship
    Nine goats received by lot; myself alone
    Selected ten. All day, till set of sun,
    We eating sat goat's flesh, and drinking wine
    Delicious, without stint; for dearth was none
    Of ruddy wine on board, but much remain'd,
    With which my people had their jars supplied
    What time we sack'd Ciconian Ismarus.
    Thence looking forth toward the neighbour-land
    Where dwell the Cyclops, rising smoke we saw,                    190
    And voices heard, their own, and of their flocks.
    Now sank the sun, and (night o'ershadowing all)
    We slept along the shore; but when again
    The rosy-finger'd daughter of the dawn
    Look'd forth, my crews convened, I thus began.
      Companions of my course! here rest ye all,
    Save my own crew, with whom I will explore
    This people, whether wild, they be, unjust,
    And to contention giv'n, or well-disposed
    To strangers, and a race who fear the Gods.                      200
      So speaking, I embark'd, and bade embark
    My followers, throwing, quick, the hawsers loose.
    They, ent'ring at my word, the benches fill'd
    Well-ranged, and thresh'd with oars the foamy flood.
    Attaining soon that neighbour-land, we found
    At its extremity, fast by the sea,
    A cavern, lofty, and dark-brow'd above
    With laurels; in that cavern slumb'ring lay
    Much cattle, sheep and goats, and a broad court
    Enclosed it, fenced with stones from quarries hewn,              210
    With spiry firs, and oaks of ample bough.
    Here dwelt a giant vast, who far remote
    His flocks fed solitary, converse none
    Desiring, sullen, savage, and unjust.
    Monster, in truth, he was, hideous in form,
    Resembling less a man by Ceres' gift
    Sustain'd, than some aspiring mountain-crag
    Tufted with wood, and standing all alone.
    Enjoining, then, my people to abide
    Fast by the ship which they should closely guard,                220
    I went, but not without a goat-skin fill'd
    With sable wine which I had erst received
    From Maron, offspring of Evanthes, priest
    Of Phœbus guardian god of Ismarus,
    Because, through rev'rence of him, we had saved
    Himself, his wife and children; for he dwelt
    Amid the grove umbrageous of his God.
    He gave me, therefore, noble gifts; from him
    Sev'n talents I received of beaten gold,
    A beaker, argent all, and after these                            230
    No fewer than twelve jars with wine replete,
    Rich, unadult'rate, drink for Gods; nor knew
    One servant, male or female, of that wine
    In all his house; none knew it, save himself,
    His wife, and the intendant of his stores.
    Oft as they drank that luscious juice, he slaked
    A single cup with twenty from the stream,
    And, even then, the beaker breath'd abroad
    A scent celestial, which whoever smelt,
    Thenceforth no pleasure found it to abstain.                     240
    Charged with an ample goat-skin of this wine
    I went, and with a wallet well supplied,
    But felt a sudden presage in my soul
    That, haply, with terrific force endued,
    Some savage would appear, strange to the laws
    And privileges of the human race.
    Few steps convey'd us to his den, but him
    We found not; he his flocks pastur'd abroad.
    His cavern ent'ring, we with wonder gazed
    Around on all; his strainers hung with cheese                    250
    Distended wide; with lambs and kids his penns
    Close-throng'd we saw, and folded separate
    The various charge; the eldest all apart,
    Apart the middle-aged, and the new-yean'd
    Also apart. His pails and bowls with whey
    Swam all, neat vessels into which he milk'd.
    Me then my friends first importuned to take
    A portion of his cheeses, then to drive
    Forth from the sheep-cotes to the rapid bark
    His kids and lambs, and plow the brine again.                    260
    But me they moved not, happier had they moved!
    I wish'd to see him, and to gain, perchance,
    Some pledge of hospitality at his hands,
    Whose form was such, as should not much bespeak
    When he appear'd, our confidence or love.
    Then, kindling fire, we offer'd to the Gods,
    And of his cheeses eating, patient sat
    Till home he trudged from pasture. Charged he came
    With dry wood bundled, an enormous load
    Fuel by which to sup. Loud crash'd the thorns                    270
    Which down he cast before the cavern's mouth,
    To whose interior nooks we trembling flew.
    At once he drove into his spacious cave
    His batten'd flock, all those which gave him milk,
    But all the males, both rams and goats, he left
    Abroad, excluded from the cavern-yard.
    Upheaving, next, a rocky barrier huge
    To his cave's mouth, he thrust it home. That weight
    Not all the oxen from its place had moved
    Of twenty and two wains; with such a rock                        280
    Immense his den he closed. Then down he sat,
    And as he milk'd his ewes and bleating goats
    All in their turns, her yeanling gave to each;
    Coagulating, then, with brisk dispatch,
    The half of his new milk, he thrust the curd
    Into his wicker sieves, but stored the rest
    In pans and bowls--his customary drink.
    His labours thus perform'd, he kindled, last,
    His fuel, and discerning _us_, enquired,
      Who are ye, strangers? from what distant shore                 290
    Roam ye the waters? traffic ye? or bound
    To no one port, wander, as pirates use,
    At large the Deep, exposing life themselves,
    And enemies of all mankind beside?
      He ceased; we, dash'd with terrour, heard the growl
    Of his big voice, and view'd his form uncouth,
    To whom, though sore appall'd, I thus replied.
      Of Greece are we, and, bound from Ilium home,
    Have wander'd wide the expanse of ocean, sport
    For ev'ry wind, and driven from our course,                      300
    Have here arrived; so stood the will of Jove.
    We boast ourselves of Agamemnon's train,
    The son of Atreus, at this hour the Chief
    Beyond all others under heav'n renown'd,
    So great a city he hath sack'd and slain
    Such num'rous foes; but since we reach, at last,
    Thy knees, we beg such hospitable fare,
    Or other gift, as guests are wont to obtain.
    Illustrious lord! respect the Gods, and us
    Thy suitors; suppliants are the care of Jove                     310
    The hospitable; he their wrongs resents
    And where the stranger sojourns, there is he.
      I ceas'd, when answer thus he, fierce, return'd.
    Friend! either thou art fool, or hast arrived
    Indeed from far, who bidd'st me fear the Gods
    Lest they be wroth. The Cyclops little heeds
    Jove Ægis-arm'd, or all the Pow'rs of heav'n.
    Our race is mightier far; nor shall myself,
    Through fear of Jove's hostility, abstain
    From thee or thine, unless my choice be such.                    320
    But tell me now. Where touch'd thy gallant bark
    Our country, on thy first arrival here?
    Remote or nigh? for I would learn the truth.
      So spake he, tempting me; but, artful, thus
    I answer'd, penetrating his intent.
      My vessel, Neptune, Shaker of the shores,
    At yonder utmost promontory dash'd
    In pieces, hurling her against the rocks
    With winds that blew right thither from the sea,
    And I, with these alone, escaped alive.                          330
      So I, to whom, relentless, answer none
    He deign'd, but, with his arms extended, sprang
    Toward my people, of whom seizing two
    At once, like whelps against his cavern-floor
    He dash'd them, and their brains spread on the ground.
    These, piece-meal hewn, for supper he prepared,
    And, like a mountain-lion, neither flesh
    Nor entrails left, nor yet their marrowy bones.
    We, viewing that tremendous sight, upraised
    Our hands to Jove, all hope and courage lost.                    340
    When thus the Cyclops had with human flesh
    Fill'd his capacious belly, and had quaff'd
    Much undiluted milk, among his flocks
    Out-stretch'd immense, he press'd his cavern-floor.
    Me, then, my courage prompted to approach
    The monster with my sword drawn from the sheath,
    And to transfix him where the vitals wrap
    The liver; but maturer thoughts forbad.
    For so, we also had incurred a death
    Tremendous, wanting pow'r to thrust aside                        350
    The rocky mass that closed his cavern-mouth
    By force of hand alone. Thus many a sigh
    Heaving, we watch'd the dawn. But when, at length,
    Aurora, day-spring's daughter rosy-palm'd
    Look'd forth, then, kindling fire, his flocks he milk'd
    In order, and her yeanling kid or lamb
    Thrust under each. When thus he had perform'd
    His wonted task, two seizing, as before,
    He slew them for his next obscene regale.
    His dinner ended, from the cave he drove                         360
    His fatted flocks abroad, moving with ease
    That pond'rous barrier, and replacing it
    As he had only closed a quiver's lid.
    Then, hissing them along, he drove his flocks
    Toward the mountain, and me left, the while,
    Deep ruminating how I best might take
    Vengeance, and by the aid of Pallas win
    Deathless renown. This counsel pleas'd me most.
    Beside the sheep-cote lay a massy club
    Hewn by the Cyclops from an olive stock,                         370
    Green, but which dried, should serve him for a staff.
    To us consid'ring it, that staff appear'd
    Tall as the mast of a huge trading bark,
    Impell'd by twenty rowers o'er the Deep.
    Such seem'd its length to us, and such its bulk.
    Part amputating, (an whole fathom's length)
    I gave my men that portion, with command
    To shave it smooth. They smooth'd it, and myself,
    Shaping its blunt extremity to a point,
    Season'd it in the fire; then cov'ring close                     380
    The weapon, hid it under litter'd straw,
    For much lay scatter'd on the cavern-floor.
    And now I bade my people cast the lot
    Who of us all should take the pointed brand,
    And grind it in his eye when next he slept.
    The lots were cast, and four were chosen, those
    Whom most I wish'd, and I was chosen fifth.
    At even-tide he came, his fleecy flocks
    Pasturing homeward, and compell'd them all
    Into his cavern, leaving none abroad,                            390
    Either through some surmise, or so inclined
    By influence, haply, of the Gods themselves.
    The huge rock pull'd into its place again
    At the cave's mouth, he, sitting, milk'd his sheep
    And goats in order, and her kid or lamb
    Thrust under each; thus, all his work dispatch'd,
    Two more he seiz'd, and to his supper fell.
    I then, approaching to him, thus address'd
    The Cyclops, holding in my hands a cup
    Of ivy-wood, well-charg'd with ruddy wine.                       400
      Lo, Cyclops! this is wine. Take this and drink
    After thy meal of man's flesh. Taste and learn
    What precious liquor our lost vessel bore.
    I brought it hither, purposing to make
    Libation to thee, if to pity inclined
    Thou would'st dismiss us home. But, ah, thy rage
    Is insupportable! thou cruel one!
    Who, thinkest thou, of all mankind, henceforth
    Will visit _thee_, guilty of such excess?
      I ceas'd. He took and drank, and hugely pleas'd[33]            410
    With that delicious bev'rage, thus enquir'd.
      Give me again, and spare not. Tell me, too,
    Thy name, incontinent, that I may make
    Requital, gratifying also thee
    With somewhat to thy taste. We Cyclops own
    A bounteous soil, which yields _us_ also wine
    From clusters large, nourish'd by show'rs from Jove;
    But this--this is from above--a stream
    Of nectar and ambrosia, all divine!
      He ended, and received a second draught,                       420
    Like measure. Thrice I bore it to his hand,
    And, foolish, thrice he drank. But when the fumes
    Began to play around the Cyclops' brain,
    With show of amity I thus replied.
      Cyclops! thou hast my noble name enquired,
    Which I will tell thee. Give me, in return,
    The promised boon, some hospitable pledge.
    My name is Outis,[34] Outis I am call'd
    At home, abroad; wherever I am known.
      So I; to whom he, savage, thus replied.                        430
    Outis, when I have eaten all his friends,
    Shall be my last regale. Be that thy boon.
      He spake, and, downward sway'd, fell resupine,
    With his huge neck aslant. All-conqu'ring sleep
    Soon seized him. From his gullet gush'd the wine
    With human morsels mingled, many a blast
    Sonorous issuing from his glutted maw.
    Then, thrusting far the spike of olive-wood
    Into the embers glowing on the hearth,
    I heated it, and cheer'd my friends, the while,                  440
    Lest any should, through fear, shrink from his part.
    But when that stake of olive-wood, though green,
    Should soon have flamed, for it was glowing hot,
    I bore it to his side. Then all my aids
    Around me gather'd, and the Gods infused
    Heroic fortitude into our hearts.
    They, seizing the hot stake rasp'd to a point,
    Bored his eye with it, and myself, advanced
    To a superior stand, twirled it about.
    As when a shipwright with his wimble bores                       450
    Tough oaken timber, placed on either side
    Below, his fellow-artists strain the thong
    Alternate, and the restless iron spins,
    So, grasping hard the stake pointed with fire,
    We twirl'd it in his eye; the bubbling blood
    Boil'd round about the brand; his pupil sent
    A scalding vapour forth that sing'd his brow,
    And all his eye-roots crackled in the flame.
    As when the smith an hatchet or large axe
    Temp'ring with skill, plunges the hissing blade                  460
    Deep in cold water, (whence the strength of steel)
    So hiss'd his eye around the olive-wood.
    The howling monster with his outcry fill'd
    The hollow rock, and I, with all my aids,
    Fled terrified. He, plucking forth the spike
    From his burnt socket, mad with anguish, cast
    The implement all bloody far away.
    Then, bellowing, he sounded forth the name
    Of ev'ry Cyclops dwelling in the caves
    Around him, on the wind-swept mountain-tops;                     470
    They, at his cry flocking from ev'ry part,
    Circled his den, and of his ail enquired.
      What grievous hurt hath caused thee, Polypheme!
    Thus yelling to alarm the peaceful ear
    Of night, and break our slumbers? Fear'st thou lest
    Some mortal man drive off thy flocks? or fear'st
    Thyself to die by cunning or by force?
      Them answer'd, then, Polypheme from his cave.
    Oh, friends! I die! and Outis gives the blow.
      To whom with accents wing'd his friends without.               480
    If no man[35] harm thee, but thou art alone,
    And sickness feel'st, it is the stroke of Jove,
    And thou must bear it; yet invoke for aid
    Thy father Neptune, Sovereign of the floods.
      So saying, they went, and in my heart I laugh'd
    That by the fiction only of a name,
    Slight stratagem! I had deceived them all.
      Then groan'd the Cyclops wrung with pain and grief,
    And, fumbling, with stretch'd hands, removed the rock
    From his cave's mouth, which done, he sat him down               490
    Spreading his arms athwart the pass, to stop
    Our egress with his flocks abroad; so dull,
    It seems, he held me, and so ill-advised.
    I, pondering what means might fittest prove
    To save from instant death, (if save I might)
    My people and myself, to ev'ry shift
    Inclined, and various counsels framed, as one
    Who strove for life, conscious of woe at hand.
    To me, thus meditating, this appear'd
    The likeliest course. The rams well-thriven were,                500
    Thick-fleeced, full-sized, with wool of sable hue.
    These, silently, with osier twigs on which
    The Cyclops, hideous monster, slept, I bound,
    Three in one leash; the intermediate rams
    Bore each a man, whom the exterior two
    Preserved, concealing him on either side.
    Thus each was borne by three, and I, at last,
    The curl'd back seizing of a ram, (for one
    I had reserv'd far stateliest of them all)
    Slipp'd underneath his belly, and both hands                     510
    Enfolding fast in his exub'rant fleece,
    Clung ceaseless to him as I lay supine.
    We, thus disposed, waited with many a sigh
    The sacred dawn; but when, at length, aris'n,
    Aurora, day-spring's daughter rosy-palm'd
    Again appear'd, the males of all his flocks
    Rush'd forth to pasture, and, meantime, unmilk'd,
    The wethers bleated, by the load distress'd
    Of udders overcharged. Their master, rack'd
    With pain intolerable, handled yet                               520
    The backs of all, inquisitive, as they stood,
    But, gross of intellect, suspicion none
    Conceiv'd of men beneath their bodies bound.
    And now (none left beside) the ram approach'd
    With his own wool burthen'd, and with myself,
    Whom many a fear molested. Polypheme
    The giant stroak'd him as he sat, and said,
      My darling ram! why latest of the flock
    Com'st thou, whom never, heretofore, my sheep
    Could leave behind, but stalking at their head,                  530
    Thou first was wont to crop the tender grass,
    First to arrive at the clear stream, and first
    With ready will to seek my sheep-cote here
    At evening; but, thy practice chang'd, thou com'st,
    Now last of all. Feel'st thou regret, my ram!
    Of thy poor master's eye, by a vile wretch
    Bored out, who overcame me first with wine,
    And by a crew of vagabonds accurs'd,
    Followers of Outis, whose escape from death
    Shall not be made to-day? Ah! that thy heart                     540
    Were as my own, and that distinct as I
    Thou could'st articulate, so should'st thou tell,
    Where hidden, he eludes my furious wrath.
    Then, dash'd against the floor his spatter'd brain
    Should fly, and I should lighter feel my harm
    From Outis, wretch base-named and nothing-worth.
      So saying, he left him to pursue the flock.
    When, thus drawn forth, we had, at length, escaped
    Few paces from the cavern and the court,
    First, quitting my own ram, I loos'd my friends,                 550
    Then, turning seaward many a thriven ewe
    Sharp-hoof'd, we drove them swiftly to the ship.
    Thrice welcome to our faithful friends we came
    From death escaped, but much they mourn'd the dead.
    I suffer'd not their tears, but silent shook
    My brows, by signs commanding them to lift
    The sheep on board, and instant plow the main.
    They, quick embarking, on the benches sat
    Well ranged, and thresh'd with oars the foamy flood;
    But distant now such length as a loud voice                      560
    May reach, I hail'd with taunts the Cyclops' ear.
      Cyclops! when thou devouredst in thy cave
    With brutal force my followers, thou devour'dst
    The followers of no timid Chief, or base,
    Vengeance was sure to recompense that deed
    Atrocious. Monster! who wast not afraid
    To eat the guest shelter'd beneath thy roof!
    Therefore the Gods have well requited thee.
      I ended; he, exasp'rate, raged the more,
    And rending from its hold a mountain-top,                        570
    Hurl'd it toward us; at our vessel's stern
    Down came the mass, nigh sweeping in its fall
    The rudder's head. The ocean at the plunge
    Of that huge rock, high on its refluent flood
    Heav'd, irresistible, the ship to land.
    I seizing, quick, our longest pole on board,
    Back thrust her from the coast and by a nod
    In silence given, bade my companions ply
    Strenuous their oars, that so we might escape.
    Procumbent,[36] each obey'd, and when, the flood                 580
    Cleaving, we twice that distance had obtain'd,[37]
    Again I hail'd the Cyclops; but my friends
    Earnest dissuaded me on ev'ry side.
      Ah, rash Ulysses! why with taunts provoke
    The savage more, who hath this moment hurl'd
    A weapon, such as heav'd the ship again
    To land, where death seem'd certain to us all?
    For had he heard a cry, or but the voice
    Of one man speaking, he had all our heads
    With some sharp rock, and all our timbers crush'd                590
    Together, such vast force is in his arm.
      So they, but my courageous heart remain'd
    Unmoved, and thus again, incensed, I spake.
      Cyclops! should any mortal man inquire
    To whom thy shameful loss of sight thou ow'st,
    Say, to Ulysses, city-waster Chief,
    Laertes' son, native of Ithaca.
      I ceas'd, and with a groan thus he replied.
    Ah me! an antient oracle I feel
    Accomplish'd. Here abode a prophet erst,                         600
    A man of noblest form, and in his art
    Unrivall'd, Telemus Eurymedes.
    He, prophesying to the Cyclops-race,
    Grew old among us, and presaged my loss
    Of sight, in future, by Ulysses' hand.
    I therefore watch'd for the arrival here,
    Always, of some great Chief, for stature, bulk
    And beauty prais'd, and cloath'd with wond'rous might.
    But now--a dwarf, a thing impalpable,
    A shadow, overcame me first by wine,                             610
    Then quench'd my sight. Come hither, O my guest!
    Return, Ulysses! hospitable cheer
    Awaits thee, and my pray'rs I will prefer
    To glorious Neptune for thy prosp'rous course;
    For I am Neptune's offspring, and the God
    Is proud to be my Sire; he, if he please,
    And he alone can heal me; none beside
    Of Pow'rs immortal, or of men below.
      He spake, to whom I answer thus return'd.
    I would that of thy life and soul amerced,                       620
    I could as sure dismiss thee down to Hell,
    As none shall heal thine eye--not even He.
      So I; then pray'd the Cyclops to his Sire
    With hands uprais'd towards the starry heav'n.
      Hear, Earth-encircler Neptune, azure-hair'd!
    If I indeed am thine, and if thou boast
    Thyself my father, grant that never more
    Ulysses, leveller of hostile tow'rs,
    Laertes' son, of Ithaca the fair,
    Behold his native home! but if his fate                          630
    Decree him yet to see his friends, his house,
    His native country, let him deep distress'd
    Return and late, all his companions lost,
    Indebted for a ship to foreign aid,
    And let affliction meet him at his door.
      He spake, and Ocean's sov'reign heard his pray'r.
    Then lifting from the shore a stone of size
    Far more enormous, o'er his head he whirl'd
    The rock, and his immeasurable force
    Exerting all, dismiss'd it. Close behind                         640
    The ship, nor distant from the rudder's head,
    Down came the mass. The ocean at the plunge
    Of such a weight, high on its refluent flood
    Tumultuous, heaved the bark well nigh to land.
      But when we reach'd the isle where we had left
    Our num'rous barks, and where my people sat
    Watching with ceaseless sorrow our return,
    We thrust our vessel to the sandy shore,
    Then disembark'd, and of the Cyclops' sheep
    Gave equal share to all. To me alone                             650
    My fellow-voyagers the ram consign'd
    In distribution, my peculiar meed.
    Him, therefore, to cloud-girt Saturnian Jove
    I offer'd on the shore, burning his thighs
    In sacrifice; but Jove my hallow'd rites
    Reck'd not, destruction purposing to all
    My barks, and all my followers o'er the Deep.
    Thus, feasting largely, on the shore we sat
    Till even-tide, and quaffing gen'rous wine;
    But when day fail'd, and night o'ershadow'd all,                 660
    Then, on the shore we slept; and when again
    Aurora rosy daughter of the Dawn,
    Look'd forth, my people, anxious, I enjoin'd
    To climb their barks, and cast the hawsers loose.
    They all obedient, took their seats on board
    Well-ranged, and thresh'd with oars the foamy flood.
    Thus, 'scaping narrowly, we roam'd the Deep
    With aching hearts and with diminish'd crews.


FOOTNOTES:

[32] So the Scholium interprets in this place, the word ὑπερθιαλος.

[33] Λινως

[34] Clarke, who has preserved this name in his marginal version,
contends strenuously, and with great reason, that Outis ought not to be
translated, and in a passage which he quotes from the _Acta eruditorum_,
we see much fault found with Giphanius and other interpreters of Homer
for having translated it. It is certain that in Homer the word is
declined not as ουτις-τινος which signifies no man, but as ουτις-τιδος
making ουτιν in the accusative, consequently as a proper name. It is
sufficient that the ambiguity was such as to deceive the friends of the
Cyclops. Outis is said by some (perhaps absurdly) to have been a name
given to Ulysses on account of his having larger ears than common.

[35] Outis, as a _name_ could only denote him who bore it; but as a
_noun_, it signifies _no man_, which accounts sufficiently for the
ludicrous mistake of his brethren.

[36]
                      προπεσοντες
         ------Olli certamine summo
    Procumbunt.

    VIRGIL

[37] The seeming incongruity of this line with line 560, is reconciled by
supposing that Ulysses exerted his voice, naturally loud, in an
extraordinary manner on this second occasion. See Clarke.




BOOK X

ARGUMENT

Ulysses, in pursuit of his narrative, relates his arrival at the island
of Æolus, his departure thence, and the unhappy occasion of his return
thither. The monarch of the winds dismisses him at last with much
asperity. He next tells of his arrival among the Læstrygonians, by whom
his whole fleet, together with their crews, are destroyed, his own ship
and crew excepted. Thence he is driven to the island of Circe. By her the
half of his people are transformed into swine. Assisted by Mercury, he
resists her enchantments himself, and prevails with the Goddess to
recover them to their former shape. In consequence of Circe's
instructions, after having spent a complete year in her palace, he
prepares for a voyage to the infernal regions.


    We came to the Æolian isle; there dwells
    Æolus, son of Hippotas, belov'd
    By the Immortals, in an isle afloat.
    A brazen wall impregnable on all sides
    Girds it, and smooth its rocky coast ascends.
    His children, in his own fair palace born,
    Are twelve; six daughters, and six blooming sons.
    He gave his daughters to his sons to wife;
    They with their father hold perpetual feast
    And with their royal mother, still supplied                       10
    With dainties numberless; the sounding dome
    Is fill'd with sav'ry odours all the day,
    And with their consorts chaste at night they sleep
    On stateliest couches with rich arras spread.
    Their city and their splendid courts we reach'd.
    A month complete he, friendly, at his board
    Regaled me, and enquiry made minute
    Of Ilium's fall, of the Achaian fleet,
    And of our voyage thence. I told him all.
    But now, desirous to embark again,                                20
    I ask'd dismission home, which he approved,
    And well provided for my prosp'rous course.
    He gave me, furnish'd by a bullock slay'd
    In his ninth year, a bag; ev'ry rude blast
    Which from its bottom turns the Deep, that bag
    Imprison'd held; for him Saturnian Jove
    Hath officed arbiter of all the winds,
    To rouse their force or calm them, at his will.
    He gave me them on board my bark, so bound
    With silver twine that not a breath escaped,                      30
    Then order'd gentle Zephyrus to fill
    Our sails propitious. Order vain, alas!
    So fatal proved the folly of my friends.
      Nine days continual, night and day we sail'd,
    And on the tenth my native land appear'd.
    Not far remote my Ithacans I saw
    Fires kindling on the coast; but me with toil
    Worn, and with watching, gentle sleep subdued;
    For constant I had ruled the helm, nor giv'n
    That charge to any, fearful of delay.                             40
    Then, in close conference combined, my crew
    Each other thus bespake--He carries home
    Silver and gold from Æolus received,
    Offspring of Hippotas, illustrious Chief--
    And thus a mariner the rest harangued.
      Ye Gods! what city or what land soe'er
    Ulysses visits, how is he belov'd
    By all, and honour'd! many precious spoils
    He homeward bears from Troy; but we return,
    (We who the self-same voyage have perform'd)                      50
    With empty hands. Now also he hath gain'd
    This pledge of friendship from the King of winds.
    But come--be quick--search we the bag, and learn
    What stores of gold and silver it contains.
      So he, whose mischievous advice prevailed.
    They loos'd the bag; forth issued all the winds,
    And, caught by tempests o'er the billowy waste,
    Weeping they flew, far, far from Ithaca.
    I then, awaking, in my noble mind
    Stood doubtful, whether from my vessel's side                     60
    Immersed to perish in the flood, or calm
    To endure my sorrows, and content to live.
    I calm endured them; but around my head
    Winding my mantle, lay'd me down below,
    While adverse blasts bore all my fleet again
    To the Æolian isle; then groan'd my people.
      We disembark'd and drew fresh water there,
    And my companions, at their galley's sides
    All seated, took repast; short meal we made,
    When, with an herald and a chosen friend,                         70
    I sought once more the hall of Æolus.
    Him banqueting with all his sons we found,
    And with his spouse; we ent'ring, on the floor
    Of his wide portal sat, whom they amazed
    Beheld, and of our coming thus enquired.
      Return'd? Ulysses! by what adverse Pow'r
    Repuls'd hast thou arrived? we sent thee hence
    Well-fitted forth to reach thy native isle,
    Thy palace, or what place soe'er thou would'st.
      So they--to whom, heart-broken, I replied.                      80
    My worthless crew have wrong'd me, nor alone
    My worthless crew, but sleep ill-timed, as much.
    Yet heal, O friends, my hurt; the pow'r is yours!
      So I their favour woo'd. Mute sat the sons,
    But thus their father answer'd. Hence--be gone--
    Leave this our isle, thou most obnoxious wretch
    Of all mankind. I should, myself, transgress,
    Receiving here, and giving conduct hence
    To one detested by the Gods as thou.
    Away--for hated by the Gods thou com'st.                          90
      So saying, he sent me from his palace forth,
    Groaning profound; thence, therefore, o'er the Deep
    We still proceeded sorrowful, our force
    Exhausting ceaseless at the toilsome oar,
    And, through our own imprudence, hopeless now
    Of other furth'rance to our native isle.
    Six days we navigated, day and night,
    The briny flood, and on the seventh reach'd
    The city erst by Lamus built sublime,
    Proud Læstrygonia, with the distant gates.                       100
    The herdsman, there, driving his cattle home,[38]
    Summons the shepherd with his flocks abroad.
    The sleepless there might double wages earn,
    Attending, now, the herds, now, tending sheep,
    For the night-pastures, and the pastures grazed
    By day, close border, both, the city-walls.
    To that illustrious port we came, by rocks
    Uninterrupted flank'd on either side
    Of tow'ring height, while prominent the shores
    And bold, converging at the haven's mouth                        110
    Leave narrow pass. We push'd our galleys in,
    Then moor'd them side by side; for never surge
    There lifts its head, or great or small, but clear
    We found, and motionless, the shelter'd flood.
    Myself alone, staying my bark without,
    Secured her well with hawsers to a rock
    At the land's point, then climb'd the rugged steep,
    And spying stood the country. Labours none
    Of men or oxen in the land appear'd,
    Nor aught beside saw we, but from the earth                      120
    Smoke rising; therefore of my friends I sent
    Before me two, adding an herald third,
    To learn what race of men that country fed.
    Departing, they an even track pursued
    Made by the waggons bringing timber down
    From the high mountains to the town below.
    Before the town a virgin bearing forth
    Her ew'r they met, daughter of him who ruled
    The Læstrygonian race, Antiphatas.
    Descending from the gate, she sought the fount                   130
    Artacia; for their custom was to draw
    From that pure fountain for the city's use.
    Approaching they accosted her, and ask'd
    What King reign'd there, and over whom he reign'd.
    She gave them soon to know where stood sublime
    The palace of her Sire; no sooner they
    The palace enter'd, than within they found,
    In size resembling an huge mountain-top,
    A woman, whom they shudder'd to behold.
    She forth from council summon'd quick her spouse                 140
    Antiphatas, who teeming came with thoughts
    Of carnage, and, arriving, seized at once
    A Greecian, whom, next moment, he devoured.
    With headlong terrour the surviving two
    Fled to the ships. Then sent Antiphatas
    His voice through all the town, and on all sides,
    Hearing that cry, the Læstrygonians flock'd
    Numberless, and in size resembling more
    The giants than mankind. They from the rocks
    Cast down into our fleet enormous stones,                        150
    A strong man's burthen each; dire din arose
    Of shatter'd galleys and of dying men,
    Whom spear'd like fishes to their home they bore,
    A loathsome prey. While them within the port
    They slaughter'd, I, (the faulchion at my side
    Drawn forth) cut loose the hawser of my ship,
    And all my crew enjoin'd with bosoms laid
    Prone on their oars, to fly the threaten'd woe.
    They, dreading instant death tugg'd resupine
    Together, and the galley from beneath                            160
    Those beetling[39] rocks into the open sea
    Shot gladly; but the rest all perish'd there.
      Proceeding thence, we sigh'd, and roamed the waves,
    Glad that we lived, but sorrowing for the slain.
    We came to the Ææan isle; there dwelt
    The awful Circe, Goddess amber-hair'd,
    Deep-skill'd in magic song, sister by birth
    Of the all-wise Æætes; them the Sun,
    Bright luminary of the world, begat
    On Perse, daughter of Oceanus.                                   170
    Our vessel there, noiseless, we push'd to land
    Within a spacious haven, thither led
    By some celestial Pow'r. We disembark'd,
    And on the coast two days and nights entire
    Extended lay, worn with long toil, and each
    The victim of his heart-devouring woes.
    Then, with my spear and with my faulchion arm'd,
    I left the ship to climb with hasty steps
    An airy height, thence, hoping to espie
    Some works of man, or hear, perchance, a voice.                  180
    Exalted on a rough rock's craggy point
    I stood, and on the distant plain, beheld
    Smoke which from Circe's palace through the gloom
    Of trees and thickets rose. That smoke discern'd,
    I ponder'd next if thither I should haste,
    Seeking intelligence. Long time I mused,
    But chose at last, as my discreter course,
    To seek the sea-beach and my bark again,
    And, when my crew had eaten, to dispatch
    Before me, others, who should first enquire.                     190
    But, ere I yet had reach'd my gallant bark,
    Some God with pity viewing me alone
    In that untrodden solitude, sent forth
    An antler'd stag, full-sized, into my path.
    His woodland pastures left, he sought the stream,
    For he was thirsty, and already parch'd
    By the sun's heat. Him issuing from his haunt,
    Sheer through the back beneath his middle spine,
    I wounded, and the lance sprang forth beyond.
    Moaning he fell, and in the dust expired.                        200
    Then, treading on his breathless trunk, I pluck'd
    My weapon forth, which leaving there reclined,
    I tore away the osiers with my hands
    And fallows green, and to a fathom's length
    Twisting the gather'd twigs into a band,
    Bound fast the feet of my enormous prey,
    And, flinging him athwart my neck, repair'd
    Toward my sable bark, propp'd on my lance,
    Which now to carry shoulder'd as before
    Surpass'd my pow'r, so bulky was the load.                       210
    Arriving at the ship, there I let fall
    My burthen, and with pleasant speech and kind,
    Man after man addressing, cheer'd my crew.
      My friends! we suffer much, but shall not seek
    The shades, ere yet our destined hour arrive.
    Behold a feast! and we have wine on board--
    Pine not with needless famine! rise and eat.
      I spake; they readily obey'd, and each
    Issuing at my word abroad, beside
    The galley stood, admiring, as he lay,                           220
    The stag, for of no common bulk was he.
    At length, their eyes gratified to the full
    With that glad spectacle, they laved their hands,
    And preparation made of noble cheer.
    That day complete, till set of sun, we spent
    Feasting deliciously without restraint,
    And quaffing generous wine; but when the sun
    Went down, and darkness overshadow'd all,
    Extended, then, on Ocean's bank we lay;
    And when Aurora, daughter of the dawn,                           230
    Look'd rosy forth, convening all my crew
    To council, I arose, and thus began.
      My fellow-voyagers, however worn
    With num'rous hardships, hear! for neither West
    Know ye, nor East, where rises, or where sets
    The all-enlight'ning sun. But let us think,
    If thought perchance may profit us, of which
    Small hope I see; for when I lately climb'd
    Yon craggy rock, plainly I could discern
    The land encompass'd by the boundless Deep.                      240
    The isle is flat, and in the midst I saw
    Dun smoke ascending from an oaken bow'r.
      So I, whom hearing, they all courage lost,
    And at remembrance of Antiphatas
    The Læstrygonian, and the Cyclops' deeds,
    Ferocious feeder on the flesh of man,
    Mourn'd loud and wept, but tears could nought avail.
    Then numb'ring man by man, I parted them
    In equal portions, and assign'd a Chief
    To either band, myself to these, to those                        250
    Godlike Eurylochus. This done, we cast
    The lots into the helmet, and at once
    Forth sprang the lot of bold Eurylochus.
    He went, and with him of my people march'd
    Twenty and two, all weeping; nor ourselves
    Wept less, at separation from our friends.
    Low in a vale, but on an open spot,
    They found the splendid house of Circe, built
    With hewn and polish'd stones; compass'd she dwelt
    By lions on all sides and mountain-wolves                        260
    Tamed by herself with drugs of noxious pow'rs.
    Nor were they mischievous, but as my friends
    Approach'd, arising on their hinder feet,
    Paw'd them in blandishment, and wagg'd the tail.
    As, when from feast he rises, dogs around
    Their master fawn, accustom'd to receive
    The sop conciliatory from his hand,
    Around my people, so, those talon'd wolves
    And lions fawn'd. They, terrified, that troop
    Of savage monsters horrible beheld.                              270
    And now, before the Goddess' gates arrived,
    They heard the voice of Circe singing sweet
    Within, while, busied at the loom, she wove
    An ample web immortal, such a work
    Transparent, graceful, and of bright design
    As hands of Goddesses alone produce.
    Thus then Polites, Prince of men, the friend
    Highest in my esteem, the rest bespake.
      Ye hear the voice, comrades, of one who weaves
    An ample web within, and at her task                             280
    So sweetly chaunts that all the marble floor
    Re-echoes; human be she or divine
    I doubt, but let us call, that we may learn.
      He ceas'd; they call'd; soon issuing at the sound,
    The Goddess open'd wide her splendid gates,
    And bade them in; they, heedless, all complied,
    All save Eurylochus, who fear'd a snare.
    She, introducing them, conducted each
    To a bright throne, then gave them Pramnian wine,
    With grated cheese, pure meal, and honey new,                    290
    But medicated with her pois'nous drugs
    Their food, that in oblivion they might lose
    The wish of home. She gave them, and they drank,--
    When, smiting each with her enchanting wand,
    She shut them in her sties. In head, in voice,
    In body, and in bristles they became
    All swine, yet intellected as before,
    And at her hand were dieted alone
    With acorns, chestnuts, and the cornel-fruit,
    Food grateful ever to the grovelling swine.                      300
      Back flew Eurylochus toward the ship,
    To tell the woeful tale; struggling to speak,
    Yet speechless, there he stood, his heart transfixt
    With anguish, and his eyes deluged with tears.
    Me boding terrours occupied. At length,
    When, gazing on him, all had oft enquired,
    He thus rehearsed to us the dreadful change.
      Renown'd Ulysses! as thou bad'st, we went
    Through yonder oaks; there, bosom'd in a vale,
    But built conspicuous on a swelling knoll                        310
    With polish'd rock, we found a stately dome.
    Within, some Goddess or some woman wove
    An ample web, carolling sweet the while.
    They call'd aloud; she, issuing at the voice,
    Unfolded, soon, her splendid portals wide,
    And bade them in. Heedless they enter'd, all,
    But I remain'd, suspicious of a snare.
    Ere long the whole band vanish'd, none I saw
    Thenceforth, though, seated there, long time I watch'd.
      He ended; I my studded faulchion huge                          320
    Athwart my shoulder cast, and seized my bow,
    Then bade him lead me thither by the way
    Himself had gone; but with both hands my knees
    He clasp'd, and in wing'd accents sad exclaim'd.
      My King! ah lead me not unwilling back,
    But leave me here; for confident I judge
    That neither thou wilt bring another thence,
    Nor come thyself again. Haste--fly we swift
    With these, for we, at least, may yet escape.
      So he, to whom this answer I return'd.                         330
    Eurylochus! abiding here, eat thou
    And drink thy fill beside the sable bark;
    I go; necessity forbids my stay.
      So saying, I left the galley and the shore.
    But ere that awful vale ent'ring, I reach'd
    The palace of the sorceress, a God
    Met me, the bearer of the golden wand,
    Hermes. He seem'd a stripling in his prime,
    His cheeks cloath'd only with their earliest down,
    For youth is then most graceful; fast he lock'd                  340
    His hand in mine, and thus, familiar, spake.
      Unhappy! whither, wand'ring o'er the hills,
    Stranger to all this region, and alone,
    Go'st thou? Thy people--they within the walls
    Are shut of Circe, where as swine close-pent
    She keeps them. Comest thou to set them free?
    I tell thee, never wilt thou thence return
    Thyself, but wilt be prison'd with the rest.
    Yet hearken--I will disappoint her wiles,
    And will preserve thee. Take this precious drug;                 350
    Possessing this, enter the Goddess' house
    Boldly, for it shall save thy life from harm.
    Lo! I reveal to thee the cruel arts
    Of Circe; learn them. She will mix for thee
    A potion, and will also drug thy food
    With noxious herbs; but she shall not prevail
    By all her pow'r to change thee; for the force
    Superior of this noble plant, my gift,
    Shall baffle her. Hear still what I advise.
    When she shall smite thee with her slender rod,                  360
    With faulchion drawn and with death-threat'ning looks
    Rush on her; she will bid thee to her bed
    Affrighted; then beware. Decline not thou
    Her love, that she may both release thy friends,
    And may with kindness entertain thyself.
    But force her swear the dreaded oath of heav'n
    That she will other mischief none devise
    Against thee, lest she strip thee of thy might,
    And, quenching all thy virtue, make thee vile.
      So spake the Argicide, and from the earth                      370
    That plant extracting, placed it in my hand,
    Then taught me all its pow'rs. Black was the root,
    Milk-white the blossom; Moly is its name
    In heav'n; not easily by mortal man
    Dug forth, but all is easy to the Gods.
    Then, Hermes through the island-woods repair'd
    To heav'n, and I to Circe's dread abode,
    In gloomy musings busied as I went.
    Within the vestibule arrived, where dwelt
    The beauteous Goddess, staying there my steps,                   380
    I call'd aloud; she heard me, and at once
    Issuing, threw her splendid portals wide,
    And bade me in. I follow'd, heart-distress'd.
    Leading me by the hand to a bright throne
    With argent studs embellish'd, and beneath
    Footstool'd magnificent, she made me sit.
    Then mingling for me in a golden cup
    My bev'rage, she infused a drug, intent
    On mischief; but when I had drunk the draught
    Unchanged, she smote me with her wand, and said.                 390
      Hence--seek the sty. There wallow with thy friends.
    She spake; I drawing from beside my thigh
    My faulchion keen, with death-denouncing looks
    Rush'd on her; she with a shrill scream of fear
    Ran under my rais'd arm, seized fast my knees,
    And in wing'd accents plaintive thus began.
      Who? whence? thy city and thy birth declare.
    Amazed I see thee with that potion drench'd,
    Yet uninchanted; never man before
    Once pass'd it through his lips, and liv'd the same;             400
    But in thy breast a mind inhabits, proof
    Against all charms. Come then--I know thee well.
    Thou art Ulysses artifice-renown'd,
    Of whose arrival here in his return
    From Ilium, Hermes of the golden wand
    Was ever wont to tell me. Sheath again
    Thy sword, and let us, on my bed reclined,
    Mutual embrace, that we may trust thenceforth
    Each other, without jealousy or fear.
      The Goddess spake, to whom I thus replied.                     410
    O Circe! canst thou bid me meek become
    And gentle, who beneath thy roof detain'st
    My fellow-voyagers transform'd to swine?
    And, fearing my escape, invit'st thou me
    Into thy bed, with fraudulent pretext
    Of love, that there, enfeebling by thy arts
    My noble spirit, thou may'st make me vile?
    No--trust me--never will I share thy bed
    Till first, O Goddess, thou consent to swear
    The dread all-binding oath, that other harm                      420
    Against myself thou wilt imagine none.
      I spake. She swearing as I bade, renounced
    All evil purpose, and (her solemn oath
    Concluded) I ascended, next, her bed
    Magnificent. Meantime, four graceful nymphs
    Attended on the service of the house,
    Her menials, from the fountains sprung and groves,
    And from the sacred streams that seek the sea.
    Of these, one cast fine linen on the thrones,
    Which, next, with purple arras rich she spread;                  430
    Another placed before the gorgeous seats
    Bright tables, and set on baskets of gold.
    The third, an argent beaker fill'd with wine
    Delicious, which in golden cups she served;
    The fourth brought water, which she warm'd within
    An ample vase, and when the simm'ring flood
    Sang in the tripod, led me to a bath,
    And laved me with the pleasant stream profuse
    Pour'd o'er my neck and body, till my limbs
    Refresh'd, all sense of lassitude resign'd.                      440
    When she had bathed me, and with limpid oil
    Anointed me, and cloathed me in a vest
    And mantle, next, she led me to a throne
    Of royal state, with silver studs emboss'd,
    And footstool'd soft beneath; then came a nymph
    With golden ewer charged and silver bowl,
    Who pour'd pure water on my hands, and placed
    The polish'd board before me, which with food
    Various, selected from her present stores,
    The cat'ress spread, then, courteous, bade me eat.               450
    But me it pleas'd not; with far other thoughts
    My spirit teem'd, on vengeance more intent.
    Soon, then, as Circe mark'd me on my seat
    Fast-rooted, sullen, nor with outstretch'd hands
    Deigning to touch the banquet, she approach'd,
    And in wing'd accents suasive thus began.
      Why sits Ulysses like the Dumb, dark thoughts
    His only food? loaths he the touch of meat,
    And taste of wine? Thou fear'st, as I perceive,
    Some other snare, but idle is that fear,                         460
    For I have sworn the inviolable oath.
      She ceas'd, to whom this answer I return'd.
    How can I eat? what virtuous man and just,
    O Circe! could endure the taste of wine
    Or food, till he should see his prison'd friends
    Once more at liberty? If then thy wish
    That I should eat and drink be true, produce
    My captive people; let us meet again.
      So I; then Circe, bearing in her hand
    Her potent rod, went forth, and op'ning wide                     470
    The door, drove out my people from the sty,
    In bulk resembling brawns of the ninth year.
    They stood before me; she through all the herd
    Proceeding, with an unctuous antidote
    Anointed each, and at the wholesome touch
    All shed the swinish bristles by the drug
    Dread Circe's former magic gift, produced.
    Restored at once to manhood, they appear'd
    More vig'rous far, and sightlier than before.
    They knew me, and with grasp affectionate                        480
    Hung on my hand. Tears follow'd, but of joy,
    And with loud cries the vaulted palace rang.
    Even the awful Goddess felt, herself,
    Compassion, and, approaching me, began.
      Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd!
    Hence to the shore, and to thy gallant bark;
    First, hale her safe aground, then, hiding all
    Your arms and treasures in the caverns, come
    Thyself again, and hither lead thy friends.
    So spake the Goddess, and my gen'rous mind                       490
    Persuaded; thence repairing to the beach,
    I sought my ship; arrived, I found my crew
    Lamenting miserably, and their cheeks
    With tears bedewing ceaseless at her side.
    As when the calves within some village rear'd
    Behold, at eve, the herd returning home
    From fruitful meads where they have grazed their fill,
    No longer in the stalls contain'd, they rush
    With many a frisk abroad, and, blaring oft,
    With one consent, all dance their dams around,                   500
    So they, at sight of me, dissolved in tears
    Of rapt'rous joy, and each his spirit felt
    With like affections warm'd as he had reach'd
    Just then his country, and his city seen,
    Fair Ithaca, where he was born and rear'd.
    Then in wing'd accents tender thus they spake.
      Noble Ulysses! thy appearance fills
    Our soul with transports, such as we should feel
    Arrived in safety on our native shore.
    Speak--say how perish'd our unhappy friends?                     510
      So they; to whom this answer mild I gave.
    Hale we our vessel first ashore, and hide
    In caverns all our treasures and our arms,
    Then, hasting hence, follow me, and ere long
    Ye shall behold your friends, beneath the roof
    Of Circe banqueting and drinking wine
    Abundant, for no dearth attends them there.
      So I; whom all with readiness obey'd,
    All save Eurylochus; he sought alone
    To stay the rest, and, eager, interposed.                        520
      Ah whither tend we, miserable men?
    Why covet ye this evil, to go down
    To Circe's palace? she will change us all
    To lions, wolves or swine, that we may guard
    Her palace, by necessity constrain'd.
    So some were pris'ners of the Cyclops erst,
    When, led by rash Ulysses, our lost friends
    Intruded needlessly into his cave,
    And perish'd by the folly of their Chief.
      He spake, whom hearing, occupied I stood                       530
    In self-debate, whether, my faulchion keen
    Forth-drawing from beside my sturdy thigh,
    To tumble his lopp'd head into the dust,
    Although he were my kinsman in the bonds
    Of close affinity; but all my friends
    As with one voice, thus gently interposed.
      Noble Ulysses! we will leave him here
    Our vessel's guard, if such be thy command,
    But us lead thou to Circe's dread abode.
      So saying, they left the galley, and set forth                 540
    Climbing the coast; nor would Eurylochus
    Beside the hollow bark remain, but join'd
    His comrades by my dreadful menace awed.
    Meantime the Goddess, busily employ'd,
    Bathed and refresh'd my friends with limpid oil,
    And clothed them. We, arriving, found them all
    Banqueting in the palace; there they met;
    These ask'd, and those rehearsed the wond'rous tale,
    And, the recital made, all wept aloud
    Till the wide dome resounded. Then approach'd                    550
    The graceful Goddess, and address'd me thus.
      Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd!
    Provoke ye not each other, now, to tears.
    I am not ignorant, myself, how dread
    Have been your woes both on the fishy Deep,
    And on the land by force of hostile pow'rs.
    But come--Eat now, and drink ye wine, that so
    Your freshen'd spirit may revive, and ye
    Courageous grow again, as when ye left
    The rugged shores of Ithaca, your home.                          560
    For now, through recollection, day by day,
    Of all your pains and toils, ye are become
    Spiritless, strengthless, and the taste forget
    Of pleasure, such have been your num'rous woes.
      She spake, whose invitation kind prevail'd,
    And won us to her will. There, then, we dwelt
    The year complete, fed with delicious fare
    Day after day, and quaffing gen'rous wine.
    But when (the year fulfill'd) the circling hours
    Their course resumed, and the successive months                  570
    With all their tedious days were spent, my friends,
    Summoning me abroad, thus greeted me.
      Sir! recollect thy country, if indeed
    The fates ordain thee to revisit safe
    That country, and thy own glorious abode.
      So they; whose admonition I receiv'd
    Well-pleas'd. Then, all the day, regaled we sat
    At Circe's board with sav'ry viands rare,
    And quaffing richest wine; but when, the sun
    Declining, darkness overshadow'd all,                            580
    Then, each within the dusky palace took
    Custom'd repose, and to the Goddess' bed
    Magnificent ascending, there I urged
    My earnest suit, which gracious she receiv'd,
    And in wing'd accents earnest thus I spake.
      O Circe! let us prove thy promise true;
    Dismiss us hence. My own desires, at length,
    Tend homeward vehement, and the desires
    No less of all my friends, who with complaints
    Unheard by thee, wear my sad heart away.                         590
      So I; to whom the Goddess in return.
    Laertes' noble son, Ulysses famed
    For deepest wisdom! dwell not longer here,
    Thou and thy followers, in my abode
    Reluctant; but your next must be a course
    Far diff'rent; hence departing, ye must seek
    The dreary house of Ades and of dread
    Persephone there to consult the Seer
    Theban Tiresias, prophet blind, but blest
    With faculties which death itself hath spared.                   600
    To him alone, of all the dead, Hell's Queen
    Gives still to prophesy, while others flit
    Mere forms, the shadows of what once they were.
      She spake, and by her words dash'd from my soul
    All courage; weeping on the bed I sat,
    Reckless of life and of the light of day.
    But when, with tears and rolling to and fro
    Satiate, I felt relief, thus I replied.
      O Circe! with what guide shall I perform
    This voyage, unperform'd by living man?                          610
      I spake, to whom the Goddess quick replied.
    Brave Laertiades! let not the fear
    To want a guide distress thee. Once on board,
    Your mast erected, and your canvas white
    Unfurl'd, sit thou; the breathing North shall waft
    Thy vessel on. But when ye shall have cross'd
    The broad expanse of Ocean, and shall reach
    The oozy shore, where grow the poplar groves
    And fruitless willows wan of Proserpine,
    Push thither through the gulphy Deep thy bark,                   620
    And, landing, haste to Pluto's murky abode.
    There, into Acheron runs not alone
    Dread Pyriphlegethon, but Cocytus loud,
    From Styx derived; there also stands a rock,
    At whose broad base the roaring rivers meet.
    There, thrusting, as I bid, thy bark ashore,
    O Hero! scoop the soil, op'ning a trench
    Ell-broad on ev'ry side; then pour around
    Libation consecrate to all the dead,
    First, milk with honey mixt, then luscious wine,                 630
    Then water, sprinkling, last, meal over all.
    Next, supplicate the unsubstantial forms
    Fervently of the dead, vowing to slay,
    (Return'd to Ithaca) in thy own house,
    An heifer barren yet, fairest and best
    Of all thy herds, and to enrich the pile
    With delicacies such as please the shades;
    But, in peculiar, to Tiresias vow
    A sable ram, noblest of all thy flocks.
    When thus thou hast propitiated with pray'r                      640
    All the illustrious nations of the dead,
    Next, thou shalt sacrifice to them a ram
    And sable ewe, turning the face of each
    Right toward Erebus, and look thyself,
    Meantime, askance toward the river's course.
    Souls num'rous, soon, of the departed dead
    Will thither flock; then, strenuous urge thy friends,
    Flaying the victims which thy ruthless steel
    Hath slain, to burn them, and to sooth by pray'r
    Illustrious Pluto and dread Proserpine.                          650
    While thus is done, thou seated at the foss,
    Faulchion in hand, chace thence the airy forms
    Afar, nor suffer them to approach the blood,
    Till with Tiresias thou have first conferr'd.
    Then, glorious Chief! the Prophet shall himself
    Appear, who will instruct thee, and thy course
    Delineate, measuring from place to place
    Thy whole return athwart the fishy flood.
      While thus she spake, the golden dawn arose,
    When, putting on me my attire, the nymph                         660
    Next, cloath'd herself, and girding to her waist
    With an embroider'd zone her snowy robe
    Graceful, redundant, veil'd her beauteous head.
    Then, ranging the wide palace, I aroused
    My followers, standing at the side of each--
    Up! sleep no longer! let us quick depart,
    For thus the Goddess hath, herself, advised.
      So I, whose early summons my brave friends
    With readiness obey'd. Yet even thence
    I brought not all my crew. There was a youth,                    670
    Youngest of all my train, Elpenor; one
    Not much in estimation for desert
    In arms, nor prompt in understanding more,
    Who overcharged with wine, and covetous
    Of cooler air, high on the palace-roof
    Of Circe slept, apart from all the rest.
    Awaken'd by the clamour of his friends
    Newly arisen, he also sprang to rise,
    And in his haste, forgetful where to find
    The deep-descending stairs, plunged through the roof.            680
    With neck-bone broken from the vertebræ
    Outstretch'd he lay; his spirit sought the shades.
      Then, thus to my assembling friends I spake.
    Ye think, I doubt not, of an homeward course,
    But Circe points me to the drear abode
    Of Proserpine and Pluto, to consult
    The spirit of Tiresias, Theban seer.
      I ended, and the hearts of all alike
    Felt consternation; on the earth they sat
    Disconsolate, and plucking each his hair,                        690
    Yet profit none of all their sorrow found.
      But while we sought my galley on the beach
    With tepid tears bedewing, as we went,
    Our cheeks, meantime the Goddess to the shore
    Descending, bound within the bark a ram
    And sable ewe, passing us unperceived.
    For who hath eyes that can discern a God
    Going or coming, if he shun the view?


FOOTNOTES:

[38] It is supposed by Eustathius that the pastures being infested by gad
flies and other noxious insects in the day-time, they drove their sheep
a-field in the morning, which by their wool were defended from them, and
their cattle in the evening, when the insects had withdrawn. It is one of
the few passages in Homer that must lie at the mercy of conjecture.

[39] The word has the authority of Shakspeare, and signifies overhanging.




BOOK XI

ARGUMENT

Ulysses relates to Alcinoüs his voyage to the infernal regions, his
conference there with the prophet Tiresias concerning his return to
Ithaca, and gives him an account of the heroes, heroines, and others whom
he saw there.


    Arriving on the shore, and launching, first,
    Our bark into the sacred Deep, we set
    Our mast and sails, and stow'd secure on board
    The ram and ewe, then, weeping, and with hearts
    Sad and disconsolate, embark'd ourselves.
    And now, melodious Circe, nymph divine,
    Sent after us a canvas-stretching breeze,
    Pleasant companion of our course, and we
    (The decks and benches clear'd) untoiling sat,
    While managed gales sped swift the bark along.                    10
    All day, with sails distended, e'er the Deep
    She flew, and when the sun, at length, declined,
    And twilight dim had shadow'd all the ways,
    Approach'd the bourn of Ocean's vast profound.
    The city, there, of the Cimmerians stands
    With clouds and darkness veil'd, on whom the sun
    Deigns not to look with his beam-darting eye,
    Or when he climbs the starry arch, or when
    Earthward he slopes again his west'ring wheels,[40]
    But sad night canopies the woeful race.                           20
    We haled the bark aground, and, landing there
    The ram and sable ewe, journey'd beside
    The Deep, till we arrived where Circe bade.
    Here, Perimedes' son Eurylochus
    Held fast the destined sacrifice, while I
    Scoop'd with my sword the soil, op'ning a trench
    Ell-broad on ev'ry side, then pour'd around
    Libation consecrate to all the dead,
    First, milk with honey mixt, then luscious wine,
    Then water, sprinkling, last, meal over all.                      30
    This done, adoring the unreal forms
    And shadows of the dead, I vow'd to slay,
    (Return'd to Ithaca) in my own abode,
    An heifer barren yet, fairest and best
    Of all my herds, and to enrich the pile
    With delicacies, such as please the shades.
    But, in peculiar, to the Theban seer
    I vow'd a sable ram, largest and best
    Of all my flocks. When thus I had implored
    With vows and pray'r, the nations of the dead,                    40
    Piercing the victims next, I turn'd them both
    To bleed into the trench; then swarming came
    From Erebus the shades of the deceased,
    Brides, youths unwedded, seniors long with woe
    Oppress'd, and tender girls yet new to grief.
    Came also many a warrior by the spear
    In battle pierced, with armour gore-distain'd,
    And all the multitude around the foss
    Stalk'd shrieking dreadful; me pale horror seized.
    I next, importunate, my people urged,                             50
    Flaying the victims which myself had slain,
    To burn them, and to supplicate in pray'r
    Illustrious Pluto and dread Proserpine.
    Then down I sat, and with drawn faulchion chased
    The ghosts, nor suffer'd them to approach the blood,
    Till with Tiresias I should first confer.
      The spirit, first, of my companion came,
    Elpenor; for no burial honours yet
    Had he received, but we had left his corse
    In Circe's palace, tombless, undeplored,                          60
    Ourselves by pressure urged of other cares.
    Touch'd with compassion seeing him, I wept,
    And in wing'd accents brief him thus bespake.
      Elpenor! how cam'st thou into the realms
    Of darkness? Hast thou, though on foot, so far
    Outstripp'd my speed, who in my bark arrived?
      So I, to whom with tears he thus replied.
    Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd!
    Fool'd by some dæmon and the intemp'rate bowl,
    I perish'd in the house of Circe; there                           70
    The deep-descending steps heedless I miss'd,
    And fell precipitated from the roof.
    With neck-bone broken from the vertebræ
    Outstretch'd I lay; my spirit sought the shades.
    But now, by those whom thou hast left at home,
    By thy Penelope, and by thy fire,
    The gentle nourisher of thy infant growth,
    And by thy only son Telemachus
    I make my suit to thee. For, sure, I know
    That from the house of Pluto safe return'd,                       80
    Thou shalt ere long thy gallant vessel moor
    At the Ææan isle. Ah! there arrived
    Remember me. Leave me not undeplored
    Nor uninhumed, lest, for my sake, the Gods
    In vengeance visit thee; but with my arms
    (What arms soe'er I left) burn me, and raise
    A kind memorial of me on the coast,
    Heap'd high with earth; that an unhappy man
    May yet enjoy an unforgotten name.
    Thus do at my request, and on my hill                             90
    Funereal, plant the oar with which I row'd,
    While yet I lived a mariner of thine.
      He spake, to whom thus answer I return'd.
    Poor youth! I will perform thy whole desire.
      Thus we, there sitting, doleful converse held,
    With outstretch'd faulchion, I, guarding the blood,
    And my companion's shadowy semblance sad
    Meantime discoursing me on various themes.
    The soul of my departed mother, next,
    Of Anticleia came, daughter of brave                             100
    Autolycus; whom, when I sought the shores
    Of Ilium, I had living left at home.
    Seeing her, with compassion touch'd, I wept,
    Yet even her, (although it pain'd my soul)
    Forbad, relentless, to approach the blood,
    Till with Tiresias I should first confer.
    Then came the spirit of the Theban seer
    Himself, his golden sceptre in his hand,
    Who knew me, and, enquiring, thus began.
      Why, hapless Chief! leaving the cheerful day,                  110
    Arriv'st thou to behold the dead, and this
    Unpleasant land? but, from the trench awhile
    Receding, turn thy faulchion keen away,
    That I may drink the blood, and tell thee truth.
      He spake; I thence receding, deep infix'd
    My sword bright-studded in the sheath again.
    The noble prophet then, approaching, drank
    The blood, and, satisfied, address'd me thus.
      Thou seek'st a pleasant voyage home again,
    Renown'd Ulysses! but a God will make                            120
    That voyage difficult; for, as I judge,
    Thou wilt not pass by Neptune unperceiv'd,
    Whose anger follows thee, for that thou hast
    Deprived his son Cyclops of his eye.
    At length, however, after num'rous woes
    Endur'd, thou may'st attain thy native isle,
    If thy own appetite thou wilt controul
    And theirs who follow thee, what time thy bark
    Well-built, shall at Thrinacia's shore arrive,[41]
    Escaped from perils of the gloomy Deep.                          130
    There shall ye find grazing the flocks and herds
    Of the all-seeing and all-hearing Sun,
    Which, if attentive to thy safe return,
    Thou leave unharm'd, though after num'rous woes,
    Ye may at length arrive in Ithaca.
    But if thou violate them, I denounce
    Destruction on thy ship and all thy band,
    And though thyself escape, late shalt thou reach
    Thy home and hard-bested,[42] in a strange bark,
    All thy companions lost; trouble beside                          140
    Awaits thee there, for thou shalt find within
    Proud suitors of thy noble wife, who waste
    Thy substance, and with promis'd spousal gifts
    Ceaseless solicit her to wed; yet well
    Shalt thou avenge all their injurious deeds.
    That once perform'd, and ev'ry suitor slain
    Either by stratagem, or face to face,
    In thy own palace, bearing, as thou go'st,
    A shapely oar, journey, till thou hast found
    A people who the sea know not, nor eat                           150
    Food salted; they trim galley crimson prow'd
    Have ne'er beheld, nor yet smooth-shaven oar,
    With which the vessel wing'd scuds o'er the waves.
    Well thou shalt know them; this shall be the sign--
    When thou shalt meet a trav'ler, who shall name
    The oar on thy broad shoulder borne, a van,[43]
    There, deep infixing it within the soil,
    Worship the King of Ocean with a bull,
    A ram, and a lascivious boar, then seek
    Thy home again, and sacrifice at home                            160
    An hecatomb to the Immortal Gods,
    Adoring each duly, and in his course.
    So shalt thou die in peace a gentle death,
    Remote from Ocean; it shall find thee late,
    In soft serenity of age, the Chief
    Of a blest people.--I have told thee truth.
      He spake, to whom I answer thus return'd.
    Tiresias! thou, I doubt not, hast reveal'd
    The ordinance of heav'n. But tell me, Seer!
    And truly. I behold my mother's shade;                           170
    Silent she sits beside the blood, nor word
    Nor even look vouchsafes to her own son.
    How shall she learn, prophet, that I am her's?
      So I, to whom Tiresias quick replied.
    The course is easy. Learn it, taught by me.
    What shade soe'er, by leave of thee obtain'd,
    Shall taste the blood, that shade will tell thee truth;
    The rest, prohibited, will all retire.
      When thus the spirit of the royal Seer
    Had his prophetic mind reveal'd, again                           180
    He enter'd Pluto's gates; but I unmoved
    Still waited till my mother's shade approach'd;
    She drank the blood, then knew me, and in words
    Wing'd with affection, plaintive, thus began.
      My son! how hast thou enter'd, still alive,
    This darksome region? Difficult it is
    For living man to view the realms of death.
    Broad rivers roll, and awful floods between,
    But chief, the Ocean, which to pass on foot,
    Or without ship, impossible is found.                            190
    Hast thou, long wand'ring in thy voyage home
    From Ilium, with thy ship and crew arrived,
    Ithaca and thy consort yet unseen?
      She spake, to whom this answer I return'd.
    My mother! me necessity constrain'd
    To Pluto's dwelling, anxious to consult
    Theban Tiresias; for I have not yet
    Approach'd Achaia, nor have touch'd the shore
    Of Ithaca, but suff'ring ceaseless woe
    Have roam'd, since first in Agamemnon's train                    200
    I went to combat with the sons of Troy.
    But speak, my mother, and the truth alone;
    What stroke of fate slew _thee_? Fell'st thou a prey
    To some slow malady? or by the shafts
    Of gentle Dian suddenly subdued?
    Speak to me also of my ancient Sire,
    And of Telemachus, whom I left at home;
    Possess I still unalienate and safe
    My property, or hath some happier Chief
    Admittance free into my fortunes gain'd,                         210
    No hope subsisting more of my return?
    The mind and purpose of my wedded wife
    Declare thou also. Dwells she with our son
    Faithful to my domestic interests,
    Or is she wedded to some Chief of Greece?
      I ceas'd, when thus the venerable shade.
    Not so; she faithful still and patient dwells
    Thy roof beneath; but all her days and nights
    Devoting sad to anguish and to tears.
    Thy fortunes still are thine; Telemachus                         220
    Cultivates, undisturb'd, thy land, and sits
    At many a noble banquet, such as well
    Beseems the splendour of his princely state,
    For all invite him; at his farm retired
    Thy father dwells, nor to the city comes,
    For aught; nor bed, nor furniture of bed,
    Furr'd cloaks or splendid arras he enjoys,
    But, with his servile hinds all winter sleeps
    In ashes and in dust at the hearth-side,
    Coarsely attired; again, when summer comes,                      230
    Or genial autumn, on the fallen leaves
    In any nook, not curious where, he finds
    There, stretch'd forlorn, nourishing grief, he weeps
    Thy lot, enfeebled now by num'rous years.
    So perish'd I; such fate I also found;
    Me, neither the right-aiming arch'ress struck,
    Diana, with her gentle shafts, nor me
    Distemper slew, my limbs by slow degrees
    But sure, bereaving of their little life,                        240
    But long regret, tender solicitude,
    And recollection of thy kindness past,
    These, my Ulysses! fatal proved to me.
      She said; I, ardent wish'd to clasp the shade
    Of my departed mother; thrice I sprang
    Toward her, by desire impetuous urged,
    And thrice she flitted from between my arms,
    Light as a passing shadow or a dream.
    Then, pierced by keener grief, in accents wing'd
    With filial earnestness I thus replied.                          250
      My mother, why elud'st thou my attempt
    To clasp thee, that ev'n here, in Pluto's realm,
    We might to full satiety indulge
    Our grief, enfolded in each other's arms?
    Hath Proserpine, alas! only dispatch'd
    A shadow to me, to augment my woe?
      Then, instant, thus the venerable form.
    Ah, son! thou most afflicted of mankind!
    On thee, Jove's daughter, Proserpine, obtrudes
    No airy semblance vain; but such the state                       260
    And nature is of mortals once deceased.
    For they nor muscle have, nor flesh, nor bone;
    All those (the spirit from the body once
    Divorced) the violence of fire consumes,
    And, like a dream, the soul flies swift away.
    But haste thou back to light, and, taught thyself
    These sacred truths, hereafter teach thy spouse.
      Thus mutual we conferr'd. Then, thither came,
    Encouraged forth by royal Proserpine,
    Shades female num'rous, all who consorts, erst,                  270
    Or daughters were of mighty Chiefs renown'd.
    About the sable blood frequent they swarm'd.
    But I, consid'ring sat, how I might each
    Interrogate, and thus resolv'd. My sword
    Forth drawing from beside my sturdy thigh,
    Firm I prohibited the ghosts to drink
    The blood together; they successive came;
    Each told her own distress; I question'd all.
      There, first, the high-born Tyro I beheld;
    She claim'd Salmoneus as her sire, and wife                      280
    Was once of Cretheus, son of Æolus.
    Enamour'd of Enipeus, stream divine,
    Loveliest of all that water earth, beside
    His limpid current she was wont to stray,
    When Ocean's God, (Enipeus' form assumed)
    Within the eddy-whirling river's mouth
    Embraced her; there, while the o'er-arching flood,
    Uplifted mountainous, conceal'd the God
    And his fair human bride, her virgin zone
    He loos'd, and o'er her eyes sweet sleep diffused.               290
    His am'rous purpose satisfied, he grasp'd
    Her hand, affectionate, and thus he said.
      Rejoice in this my love, and when the year
    Shall tend to consummation of its course,
    Thou shalt produce illustrious twins, for love
    Immortal never is unfruitful love.
    Rear them with all a mother's care; meantime,
    Hence to thy home. Be silent. Name it not.
    For I am Neptune, Shaker of the shores.
      So saying, he plunged into the billowy Deep.                   300
    She pregnant grown, Pelias and Neleus bore,
    Both, valiant ministers of mighty Jove.
    In wide-spread Iäolchus Pelias dwelt,
    Of num'rous flocks possess'd; but his abode
    Amid the sands of Pylus Neleus chose.
    To Cretheus wedded next, the lovely nymph
    Yet other sons, Æson and Pheres bore,
    And Amythaon of equestrian fame.
      I, next, the daughter of Asopus saw,
    Antiope; she gloried to have known                               310
    Th' embrace of Jove himself, to whom she brought
    A double progeny, Amphion named
    And Zethus; they the seven-gated Thebes
    Founded and girded with strong tow'rs, because,
    Though puissant Heroes both, in spacious Thebes
    Unfenced by tow'rs, they could not dwell secure.
      Alcmena, next, wife of Amphitryon
    I saw; she in the arms of sov'reign Jove
    The lion-hearted Hercules conceiv'd,
    And, after, bore to Creon brave in fight                         320
    His daughter Megara, by the noble son
    Unconquer'd of Amphitryon espoused.
      The beauteous Epicaste[44] saw I then,
    Mother of Oedipus, who guilt incurr'd
    Prodigious, wedded, unintentional,
    To her own son; his father first he slew,
    Then wedded her, which soon the Gods divulged.
    He, under vengeance of offended heav'n,
    In pleasant Thebes dwelt miserable, King
    Of the Cadmean race; she to the gates                            330
    Of Ades brazen-barr'd despairing went,
    Self-strangled by a cord fasten'd aloft
    To her own palace-roof, and woes bequeath'd
    (Such as the Fury sisters execute
    Innumerable) to her guilty son.
      There also saw I Chloris, loveliest fair,
    Whom Neleus woo'd and won with spousal gifts
    Inestimable, by her beauty charm'd
    She youngest daughter was of Iasus' son,
    Amphion, in old time a sov'reign prince                          340
    In Minuëian Orchomenus,
    And King of Pylus. Three illustrious sons
    She bore to Neleus, Nestor, Chromius,
    And Periclymenus the wide-renown'd,
    And, last, produced a wonder of the earth,
    Pero, by ev'ry neighbour prince around
    In marriage sought; but Neleus her on none
    Deign'd to bestow, save only on the Chief
    Who should from Phylace drive off the beeves
    (Broad-fronted, and with jealous care secured)                   350
    Of valiant Iphicles. One undertook
    That task alone, a prophet high in fame,
    Melampus; but the Fates fast bound him there
    In rig'rous bonds by rustic hands imposed.
    At length (the year, with all its months and days
    Concluded, and the new-born year begun)
    Illustrious Iphicles releas'd the seer,
    Grateful for all the oracles resolved,[45]
    Till then obscure. So stood the will of Jove.
      Next, Leda, wife of Tyndarus I saw,                            360
    Who bore to Tyndarus a noble pair,
    Castor the bold, and Pollux cestus-famed.
    They pris'ners in the fertile womb of earth,
    Though living, dwell, and even there from Jove
    High priv'lege gain; alternate they revive
    And die, and dignity partake divine.
      The comfort of Aloëus, next, I view'd,
    Iphimedeia; she th' embrace profess'd
    Of Neptune to have shared, to whom she bore
    Two sons; short-lived they were, but godlike both,               370
    Otus and Ephialtes far-renown'd.
    Orion sole except, all-bounteous Earth
    Ne'er nourish'd forms for beauty or for size
    To be admired as theirs; in his ninth year
    Each measur'd, broad, nine cubits, and the height
    Was found nine ells of each. Against the Gods
    Themselves they threaten'd war, and to excite
    The din of battle in the realms above.
    To the Olympian summit they essay'd
    To heave up Ossa, and to Ossa's crown                            380
    Branch-waving Pelion; so to climb the heav'ns.
    Nor had they failed, maturer grown in might,
    To accomplish that emprize, but them the son[46]
    Of radiant-hair'd Latona and of Jove
    Slew both, ere yet the down of blooming youth
    Thick-sprung, their cheeks or chins had tufted o'er.
      Phædra I also there, and Procris saw,
    And Ariadne for her beauty praised,
    Whose sire was all-wise Minos. Theseus her
    From Crete toward the fruitful region bore                       390
    Of sacred Athens, but enjoy'd not there,
    For, first, she perish'd by Diana's shafts
    In Dia, Bacchus witnessing her crime.[47]
      Mæra and Clymene I saw beside,
    And odious Eriphyle, who received
    The price in gold of her own husband's life.
      But all the wives of Heroes whom I saw,
    And all their daughters can I not relate;
    Night, first, would fail; and even now the hour
    Calls me to rest either on board my bark,                        400
    Or here; meantime, I in yourselves confide,
    And in the Gods to shape my conduct home.
      He ceased; the whole assembly silent sat,
    Charm'd into ecstacy by his discourse
    Throughout the twilight hall, till, at the last,
    Areta iv'ry arm'd them thus bespake.
      Phæacians! how appears he in your eyes
    This stranger, graceful as he is in port,
    In stature noble, and in mind discrete?
    My guest he is, but ye all share with me                         410
    That honour; him dismiss not, therefore, hence
    With haste, nor from such indigence withhold
    Supplies gratuitous; for ye are rich,
    And by kind heav'n with rare possessions blest.
      The Hero, next, Echeneus spake, a Chief
    Now ancient, eldest of Phæacia's sons.
      Your prudent Queen, my friends, speaks not beside
    Her proper scope, but as beseems her well.
    Her voice obey; yet the effect of all
    Must on Alcinoüs himself depend.                                 420
      To whom Alcinoüs, thus, the King, replied.
    I ratify the word. So shall be done,
    As surely as myself shall live supreme
    O'er all Phæacia's maritime domain.
    Then let the guest, though anxious to depart,
    Wait till the morrow, that I may complete
    The whole donation. His safe conduct home
    Shall be the gen'ral care, but mine in Chief,
    To whom dominion o'er the rest belongs.
      Him answer'd, then, Ulysses ever-wise.                         430
    Alcinoüs! Prince! exalted high o'er all
    Phæacia's sons! should ye solicit, kind,
    My stay throughout the year, preparing still
    My conduct home, and with illustrious gifts
    Enriching me the while, ev'n that request
    Should please me well; the wealthier I return'd,
    The happier my condition; welcome more
    And more respectable I should appear
    In ev'ry eye to Ithaca restored.
      To whom Alcinoüs answer thus return'd.                         440
    Ulysses! viewing thee, no fears we feel
    Lest thou, at length, some false pretender prove,
    Or subtle hypocrite, of whom no few
    Disseminated o'er its face the earth
    Sustains, adepts in fiction, and who frame
    Fables, where fables could be least surmised.
    Thy phrase well turn'd, and thy ingenuous mind
    Proclaim _thee_ diff'rent far, who hast in strains
    Musical as a poet's voice, the woes
    Rehears'd of all thy Greecians, and thy own.                     450
    But say, and tell me true. Beheld'st thou there
    None of thy followers to the walls of Troy
    Slain in that warfare? Lo! the night is long--
    A night of utmost length; nor yet the hour
    Invites to sleep. Tell me thy wond'rous deeds,
    For I could watch till sacred dawn, could'st thou
    So long endure to tell me of thy toils.
      Then thus Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    Alcinoüs! high exalted over all
    Phæacia's sons! the time suffices yet                            460
    For converse both and sleep, and if thou wish
    To hear still more, I shall not spare to unfold
    More pitiable woes than these, sustain'd
    By my companions, in the end destroy'd;
    Who, saved from perils of disast'rous war
    At Ilium, perish'd yet in their return,
    Victims of a pernicious woman's crime.[48]
      Now, when chaste Proserpine had wide dispers'd
    Those female shades, the spirit sore distress'd
    Of Agamemnon, Atreus' son, appear'd;                             470
    Encircled by a throng, he came; by all
    Who with himself beneath Ægisthus' roof
    Their fate fulfill'd, perishing by the sword.
    He drank the blood, and knew me; shrill he wail'd
    And querulous; tears trickling bathed his cheeks,
    And with spread palms, through ardour of desire
    He sought to enfold me fast, but vigour none,
    Or force, as erst, his agile limbs inform'd.
    I, pity-moved, wept at the sight, and him,
    In accents wing'd by friendship, thus address'd.                 480
      Ah glorious son of Atreus, King of men!
    What hand inflicted the all-numbing stroke
    Of death on thee? Say, didst thou perish sunk
    By howling tempests irresistible
    Which Neptune raised, or on dry land by force
    Of hostile multitudes, while cutting off
    Beeves from the herd, or driving flocks away,
    Or fighting for Achaia's daughters, shut
    Within some city's bulwarks close besieged?
      I ceased, when Agamemnon thus replied.                         490
    Ulysses, noble Chief, Laertes' son
    For wisdom famed! I neither perish'd sunk
    By howling tempests irresistible
    Which Neptune raised, nor on dry land received
    From hostile multitudes the fatal blow,
    But me Ægisthus slew; my woeful death
    Confed'rate with my own pernicious wife
    He plotted, with a show of love sincere
    Bidding me to his board, where as the ox
    Is slaughter'd at his crib, he slaughter'd _me_.                 500
    Such was my dreadful death; carnage ensued
    Continual of my friends slain all around,
    Num'rous as boars bright-tusk'd at nuptial feast,
    Or feast convivial of some wealthy Chief.
    Thou hast already witness'd many a field
    With warriors overspread, slain one by one,
    But that dire scene had most thy pity moved,
    For we, with brimming beakers at our side,
    And underneath full tables bleeding lay.
    Blood floated all the pavement. Then the cries                   510
    Of Priam's daughter sounded in my ears
    Most pitiable of all. Cassandra's cries,
    Whom Clytemnestra close beside me slew.
    Expiring as I lay, I yet essay'd
    To grasp my faulchion, but the trayt'ress quick
    Withdrew herself, nor would vouchsafe to close
    My languid eyes, or prop my drooping chin
    Ev'n in the moment when I sought the shades.
    So that the thing breathes not, ruthless and fell
    As woman once resolv'd on such a deed                            520
    Detestable, as my base wife contrived,
    The murther of the husband of her youth.
    I thought to have return'd welcome to all,
    To my own children and domestic train;
    But she, past measure profligate, hath poured
    Shame on herself, on women yet unborn,
    And even on the virtuous of her sex.
      He ceas'd, to whom, thus, answer I return'd.
    Gods! how severely hath the thund'rer plagued
    The house of Atreus even from the first,                         530
    By female counsels! we for Helen's sake
    Have num'rous died, and Clytemnestra framed,
    While thou wast far remote, this snare for thee!
      So I, to whom Atrides thus replied.
    Thou, therefore, be not pliant overmuch
    To woman; trust her not with all thy mind,
    But half disclose to her, and half conceal.
    Yet, from thy consort's hand no bloody death,
    My friend, hast thou to fear; for passing wise
    Icarius' daughter is, far other thoughts,                        540
    Intelligent, and other plans, to frame.
    Her, going to the wars we left a bride
    New-wedded, and thy boy hung at her breast,
    Who, man himself, consorts ere now with men
    A prosp'rous youth; his father, safe restored
    To his own Ithaca, shall see him soon,
    And _he_ shall clasp his father in his arms
    As nature bids; but me, my cruel one
    Indulged not with the dear delight to gaze
    On my Orestes, for she slew me first.                            550
    But listen; treasure what I now impart.[49]
    Steer secret to thy native isle; avoid
    Notice; for woman merits trust no more.
    Now tell me truth. Hear ye in whose abode
    My son resides? dwells he in Pylus, say,
    Or in Orchomenos, or else beneath
    My brother's roof in Sparta's wide domain?
    For my Orestes is not yet a shade.
      So he, to whom I answer thus return'd.
    Atrides, ask not me. Whether he live,                            560
    Or have already died, I nothing know;
    Mere words are vanity, and better spared.
      Thus we discoursing mutual stood, and tears
    Shedding disconsolate. The shade, meantime,
    Came of Achilles, Peleus' mighty son;
    Patroclus also, and Antilochus
    Appear'd, with Ajax, for proportion just
    And stature tall, (Pelides sole except)
    Distinguish'd above all Achaia's sons.
    The soul of swift Æacides at once                                570
    Knew me, and in wing'd accents thus began.
      Brave Laertiades, for wiles renown'd!
    What mightier enterprise than all the past
    Hath made thee here a guest? rash as thou art!
    How hast thou dared to penetrate the gloom
    Of Ades, dwelling of the shadowy dead,
    Semblances only of what once they were?
      He spake, to whom I, answ'ring, thus replied.
    O Peleus' son! Achilles! bravest far
    Of all Achaia's race! I here arrived                             580
    Seeking Tiresias, from his lips to learn,
    Perchance, how I might safe regain the coast
    Of craggy Ithaca; for tempest-toss'd
    Perpetual, I have neither yet approach'd
    Achaia's shore, or landed on my own.
    But as for thee, Achilles! never man
    Hath known felicity like thine, or shall,
    Whom living we all honour'd as a God,
    And who maintain'st, here resident, supreme
    Controul among the dead; indulge not then,                       590
    Achilles, causeless grief that thou hast died.
      I ceased, and answer thus instant received.
    Renown'd Ulysses! think not death a theme
    Of consolation; I had rather live
    The servile hind for hire, and eat the bread
    Of some man scantily himself sustain'd,
    Than sov'reign empire hold o'er all the shades.
    But come--speak to me of my noble boy;
    Proceeds he, as he promis'd, brave in arms,
    Or shuns he war? Say also, hast thou heard                       600
    Of royal Peleus? shares he still respect
    Among his num'rous Myrmidons, or scorn
    In Hellas and in Phthia, for that age
    Predominates in his enfeebled limbs?
    For help is none in me; the glorious sun
    No longer sees me such, as when in aid
    Of the Achaians I o'erspread the field
    Of spacious Troy with all their bravest slain.
    Oh might I, vigorous as then, repair[50]
    For one short moment to my father's house,                       610
    They all should tremble; I would shew an arm,
    Such as should daunt the fiercest who presumes
    To injure _him_, or to despise his age.
      Achilles spake, to whom I thus replied.
    Of noble Peleus have I nothing heard;
    But I will tell thee, as thou bidd'st, the truth
    Unfeign'd of Neoptolemus thy son;
    For him, myself, on board my hollow bark
    From Scyros to Achaia's host convey'd.
    Oft as in council under Ilium's walls                            620
    We met, he ever foremost was in speech,
    Nor spake erroneous; Nestor and myself
    Except, no Greecian could with him compare.
    Oft, too, as we with battle hemm'd around
    Troy's bulwarks, from among the mingled crowd
    Thy son sprang foremost into martial act,
    Inferior in heroic worth to none.
    Beneath him num'rous fell the sons of Troy
    In dreadful fight, nor have I pow'r to name
    Distinctly all, who by his glorious arm                          630
    Exerted in the cause of Greece, expired.
    Yet will I name Eurypylus, the son
    Of Telephus, an Hero whom his sword
    Of life bereaved, and all around him strew'd
    The plain with his Cetean warriors, won
    To Ilium's side by bribes to women giv'n.[51]
    Save noble Memnon only, I beheld
    No Chief at Ilium beautiful as he.
    Again, when we within the horse of wood
    Framed by Epeüs sat, an ambush chos'n                            640
    Of all the bravest Greeks, and I in trust
    Was placed to open or to keep fast-closed
    The hollow fraud; then, ev'ry Chieftain there
    And Senator of Greece wiped from his cheeks
    The tears, and tremors felt in ev'ry limb;
    But never saw I changed to terror's hue
    _His_ ruddy cheek, no tears wiped _he_ away,
    But oft he press'd me to go forth, his suit
    With pray'rs enforcing, griping hard his hilt
    And his brass-burthen'd spear, and dire revenge                  650
    Denouncing, ardent, on the race of Troy.
    At length, when we had sack'd the lofty town
    Of Priam, laden with abundant spoils
    He safe embark'd, neither by spear or shaft
    Aught hurt, or in close fight by faulchion's edge,
    As oft in war befalls, where wounds are dealt
    Promiscuous at the will of fiery Mars.
      So I; then striding large, the spirit thence
    Withdrew of swift Æacides, along
    The hoary mead pacing,[52] with joy elate                        660
    That I had blazon'd bright his son's renown.
      The other souls of men by death dismiss'd
    Stood mournful by, sad uttering each his woes;
    The soul alone I saw standing remote
    Of Telamonian Ajax, still incensed
    That in our public contest for the arms
    Worn by Achilles, and by Thetis thrown
    Into dispute, my claim had strongest proved,
    Troy and Minerva judges of the cause.
    Disastrous victory! which I could wish                           670
    Not to have won, since for that armour's sake
    The earth hath cover'd Ajax, in his form
    And martial deeds superior far to all
    The Greecians, Peleus' matchless son except.
    I, seeking to appease him, thus began.
      O Ajax, son of glorious Telamon!
    Canst thou remember, even after death,
    Thy wrath against me, kindled for the sake
    Of those pernicious arms? arms which the Gods
    Ordain'd of such dire consequence to Greece,                     680
    Which caused thy death, our bulwark! Thee we mourn
    With grief perpetual, nor the death lament
    Of Peleus' son, Achilles, more than thine.
    Yet none is blameable; Jove evermore
    With bitt'rest hate pursued Achaia's host,
    And he ordain'd thy death. Hero! approach,
    That thou may'st hear the words with which I seek
    To sooth thee; let thy long displeasure cease!
    Quell all resentment in thy gen'rous breast!
      I spake; nought answer'd he, but sullen join'd                 690
    His fellow-ghosts; yet, angry as he was,
    I had prevail'd even on him to speak,
    Or had, at least, accosted him again,
    But that my bosom teem'd with strong desire
    Urgent, to see yet others of the dead.
      There saw I Minos, offspring famed of Jove;
    His golden sceptre in his hand, he sat
    Judge of the dead; they, pleading each in turn,
    His cause, some stood, some sat, filling the house
    Whose spacious folding-gates are never closed.                   700
      Orion next, huge ghost, engaged my view,
    Droves urging o'er the grassy mead, of beasts
    Which he had slain, himself, on the wild hills,
    With strong club arm'd of ever-during brass.
      There also Tityus on the ground I saw
    Extended, offspring of the glorious earth;
    Nine acres he o'erspread, and, at his side
    Station'd, two vultures on his liver prey'd,
    Scooping his entrails; nor sufficed his hands
    To fray them thence; for he had sought to force                  710
    Latona, illustrious concubine of Jove,
    What time the Goddess journey'd o'er the rocks
    Of Pytho into pleasant Panopeus.
      Next, suff'ring grievous torments, I beheld
    Tantalus; in a pool he stood, his chin
    Wash'd by the wave; thirst-parch'd he seem'd, but found
    Nought to assuage his thirst; for when he bow'd
    His hoary head, ardent to quaff, the flood
    Vanish'd absorb'd, and, at his feet, adust
    The soil appear'd, dried, instant, by the Gods.                  720
    Tall trees, fruit-laden, with inflected heads
    Stoop'd to him, pomegranates, apples bright,
    The luscious fig, and unctuous olive smooth;
    Which when with sudden grasp he would have seized,
    Winds hurl'd them high into the dusky clouds.
      There, too, the hard-task'd Sisyphus I saw,
    Thrusting before him, strenuous, a vast rock.[53]
    With hands and feet struggling, he shoved the stone
    Up to a hill-top; but the steep well-nigh
    Vanquish'd, by some great force repulsed,[54] the mass           730
    Rush'd again, obstinate, down to the plain.
    Again, stretch'd prone, severe he toiled, the sweat
    Bathed all his weary limbs, and his head reek'd.
      The might of Hercules I, next, survey'd;
    His semblance; for himself their banquet shares
    With the Immortal Gods, and in his arms
    Enfolds neat-footed Hebe, daughter fair
    Of Jove, and of his golden-sandal'd spouse.
    Around him, clamorous as birds, the dead
    Swarm'd turbulent; he, gloomy-brow'd as night,                   740
    With uncased bow and arrow on the string
    Peer'd terrible from side to side, as one
    Ever in act to shoot; a dreadful belt
    He bore athwart his bosom, thong'd with gold.
    There, broider'd shone many a stupendous form,
    Bears, wild boars, lions with fire-flashing eyes,
    Fierce combats, battles, bloodshed, homicide.
    The artist, author of that belt, none such
    Before, produced, or after. Me his eye
    No sooner mark'd, than knowing me, in words                      750
    By sorrow quick suggested, he began.
      Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd!
    Ah, hapless Hero! thou art, doubtless, charged,
    Thou also, with some arduous labour, such
    As in the realms of day I once endured.
    Son was I of Saturnian Jove, yet woes
    Immense sustain'd, subjected to a King
    Inferior far to me, whose harsh commands
    Enjoin'd me many a terrible exploit.
    He even bade me on a time lead hence                             760
    The dog, that task believing above all
    Impracticable; yet from Ades him
    I dragg'd reluctant into light, by aid
    Of Hermes, and of Pallas azure-eyed.
      So saying, he penetrated deep again
    The abode of Pluto; but I still unmoved
    There stood expecting, curious, other shades
    To see of Heroes in old time deceased.
    And now, more ancient worthies still, and whom
    I wish'd, I had beheld, Pirithoüs                                770
    And Theseus, glorious progeny of Gods,
    But nations, first, numberless of the dead
    Came shrieking hideous; me pale horror seized,
    Lest awful Proserpine should thither send
    The Gorgon-head from Ades, sight abhorr'd!
    I, therefore, hasting to the vessel, bade
    My crew embark, and cast the hawsers loose.
    They, quick embarking, on the benches sat.
    Down the Oceanus[55] the current bore
    My galley, winning, at the first, her way                        780
    With oars, then, wafted by propitious gales.


FOOTNOTES:

[40] Milton.

[41] The shore of Scilly commonly called Trinacria, but _Euphonicè_ by
Homer, Thrinacia.

[42] The expression is used by Milton, and signifies--Beset with many
difficulties.

[43] Mistaking the oar for a corn-van. A sure indication of his ignorance
of maritime concerns.

[44] By the Tragedians called--Jocasta.

[45] Iphicles had been informed by the Oracles that he should have no
children till instructed by a prophet how to obtain them; a service which
Melampus had the good fortune to render him.

[46] Apollo.

[47] Bacchus accused her to Diana of having lain with Theseus in his
temple, and the Goddess punished her with death.

[48] Probably meaning Helen.

[49] This is surely one of the most natural strokes to be found in any
Poet. Convinced, for a moment, by the virtues of Penelope, he mentioned
her with respect; but recollecting himself suddenly, involves even her in
his general ill opinion of the sex, begotten in him by the crimes of
Clytemnestra.

[50] Another most beautiful stroke of nature. Ere yet Ulysses has had
opportunity to answer, the very thought that Peleus may possibly be
insulted, fires him, and he takes the whole for granted. Thus is the
impetuous character of Achilles sustained to the last moment!

[51] Γυναίων εινεκα δώρων--Priam is said to have influenced by gifts the
wife and mother of Eurypylus, to persuade him to the assistance of Troy,
he being himself unwilling to engage. The passage through defect of
history has long been dark, and commentators have adapted different
senses to it, all conjectural. The Ceteans are said to have been a people
of Mysia, of which Eurypylus was King.

[52] Κατ' ασφοδελον λειμωνα--Asphodel was planted on the graves and
around the tombs of the deceased, and hence the supposition that the
Stygian plain was clothed with asphodel. F.

[53] Βασαζοντα must have this sense interpreted by what follows. To
attempt to make the English numbers expressive as the Greek is a labour
like that of Sisyphus. The Translator has done what he could.

[54] It is now, perhaps, impossible to ascertain with precision what
Homer meant by the word κραταιίς, which he uses only here, and in the
next book, where it is the name of Scylla's dam.--Αναιδης--is also of
very doubtful explication.

[55] The two first lines of the following book seem to ascertain the true
meaning of the conclusion of this, and to prove sufficiently that by
Ὠκεανὸς here Homer could not possibly intend any other than a river. In
those lines he tells us in the plainest terms that _the ship left the
stream of the river Oceanus, and arrived in the open sea_. Diodorus
Siculus informs us that Ὠκεανὸς had been a name anciently given to the
Nile. See Clarke.




BOOK XII

ARGUMENT

Ulysses, pursuing his narrative, relates his return from the shades to
Circe's island, the precautions given him by that Goddess, his escape
from the Sirens, and from Scylla and Charybdis; his arrival in Sicily,
where his companions, having slain and eaten the oxen of the Sun, are
afterward shipwrecked and lost; and concludes the whole with an account
of his arrival, alone, on the mast of his vessel, at the island of
Calypso.


    And now, borne seaward from the river-stream
    Of the Oceanus, we plow'd again
    The spacious Deep, and reach'd th' Ææan isle,
    Where, daughter of the dawn, Aurora takes
    Her choral sports, and whence the sun ascends.
    We, there arriving, thrust our bark aground
    On the smooth beach, then landed, and on shore
    Reposed, expectant of the sacred dawn.
    But soon as day-spring's daughter rosy-palm'd
    Look'd forth again, sending my friends before,                    10
    I bade them bring Elpenor's body down
    From the abode of Circe to the beach.
    Then, on the utmost headland of the coast
    We timber fell'd, and, sorrowing o'er the dead,
    His fun'ral rites water'd with tears profuse.
    The dead consumed, and with the dead his arms,
    We heap'd his tomb, and the sepulchral post
    Erecting, fix'd his shapely oar aloft.
      Thus, punctual, we perform'd; nor our return
    From Ades knew not Circe, but attired                             20
    In haste, ere long arrived, with whom appear'd
    Her female train with plenteous viands charged,
    And bright wine rosy-red. Amidst us all
    Standing, the beauteous Goddess thus began.
      Ah miserable! who have sought the shades
    Alive! while others of the human race
    Die only once, appointed twice to die!
    Come--take ye food; drink wine; and on the shore
    All day regale, for ye shall hence again
    At day-spring o'er the Deep; but I will mark                      30
    Myself your future course, nor uninform'd
    Leave you in aught, lest, through some dire mistake,
    By sea or land new mis'ries ye incur.
      The Goddess spake, whose invitation kind
    We glad accepted; thus we feasting sat
    Till set of sun, and quaffing richest wine;
    But when the sun went down and darkness fell,
    My crew beside the hawsers slept, while me
    The Goddess by the hand leading apart,
    First bade me sit, then, seated opposite,                         40
    Enquired, minute, of all that I had seen,
    And I, from first to last, recounted all.
    Then, thus the awful Goddess in return.
      Thus far thy toils are finish'd. Now attend!
    Mark well my words, of which the Gods will sure
    Themselves remind thee in the needful hour.
    First shalt thou reach the Sirens; they the hearts
    Enchant of all who on their coast arrive.
    The wretch, who unforewarn'd approaching, hears
    The Sirens' voice, his wife and little-ones                       50
    Ne'er fly to gratulate his glad return,
    But him the Sirens sitting in the meads
    Charm with mellifluous song, while all around
    The bones accumulated lie of men
    Now putrid, and the skins mould'ring away.
    But, pass them thou, and, lest thy people hear
    Those warblings, ere thou yet approach, fill all
    Their ears with wax moulded between thy palms;
    But as for thee--thou hear them if thou wilt.
    Yet let thy people bind thee to the mast                          60
    Erect, encompassing thy feet and arms
    With cordage well-secured to the mast-foot,
    So shalt thou, raptur'd, hear the Sirens' song.
    But if thou supplicate to be released,
    Or give such order, then, with added cords
    Let thy companions bind thee still the more.
    When thus thy people shall have safely pass'd
    The Sirens by, think not from me to learn
    What course thou next shalt steer; two will occur;
    Delib'rate chuse; I shall describe them both.                     70
    Here vaulted rocks impend, dash'd by the waves
    Immense of Amphitrite azure-eyed;
    The blessed Gods those rocks, Erratic, call.
    Birds cannot pass them safe; no, not the doves
    Which his ambrosia bear to Father Jove,
    But even of those doves the slipp'ry rock
    Proves fatal still to one, for which the God
    Supplies another, lest the number fail.
    No ship, what ship soever there arrives,
    Escapes them, but both mariners and planks                        80
    Whelm'd under billows of the Deep, or, caught
    By fiery tempests, sudden disappear.
    Those rocks the billow-cleaving bark alone
    The Argo, further'd by the vows of all,
    Pass'd safely, sailing from Ææta's isle;
    Nor she had pass'd, but surely dash'd had been
    On those huge rocks, but that, propitious still
    To Jason, Juno sped her safe along.
    These rocks are two; one lifts his summit sharp
    High as the spacious heav'ns, wrapt in dun clouds                 90
    Perpetual, which nor autumn sees dispers'd
    Nor summer, for the sun shines never there;
    No mortal man might climb it or descend,
    Though twice ten hands and twice ten feet he own'd,
    For it is levigated as by art.
    Down scoop'd to Erebus, a cavern drear
    Yawns in the centre of its western side;
    Pass it, renown'd Ulysses! but aloof
    So far, that a keen arrow smartly sent
    Forth from thy bark should fail to reach the cave.               100
    There Scylla dwells, and thence her howl is heard
    Tremendous; shrill her voice is as the note
    Of hound new-whelp'd, but hideous her aspect,
    Such as no mortal man, nor ev'n a God
    Encount'ring her, should with delight survey.
    Her feet are twelve, all fore-feet; six her necks
    Of hideous length, each clubb'd into a head
    Terrific, and each head with fangs is arm'd
    In triple row, thick planted, stored with death.
    Plunged to her middle in the hollow den                          110
    She lurks, protruding from the black abyss
    Her heads, with which the rav'ning monster dives
    In quest of dolphins, dog-fish, or of prey
    More bulky, such as in the roaring gulphs
    Of Amphitrite without end abounds.
    It is no seaman's boast that e'er he slipp'd
    Her cavern by, unharm'd. In ev'ry mouth
    She bears upcaught a mariner away.
    The other rock, Ulysses, thou shalt find
    Humbler, a bow-shot only from the first;                         120
    On this a wild fig grows broad-leav'd, and here
    Charybdis dire ingulphs the sable flood.
    Each day she thrice disgorges, and each day
    Thrice swallows it. Ah! well forewarn'd, beware
    What time she swallows, that thou come not nigh,
    For not himself, Neptune, could snatch thee thence.
    Close passing Scylla's rock, shoot swift thy bark
    Beyond it, since the loss of six alone
    Is better far than shipwreck made of all.
      So Circe spake, to whom I thus replied.                        130
    Tell me, O Goddess, next, and tell me true!
    If, chance, from fell Charybdis I escape,
    May I not also save from Scylla's force
    My people; should the monster threaten them?
      I said, and quick the Goddess in return.
    Unhappy! can exploits and toils of war
    Still please thee? yield'st not to the Gods themselves?
    She is no mortal, but a deathless pest,
    Impracticable, savage, battle-proof.
    Defence is vain; flight is thy sole resource.                    140
    For should'st thou linger putting on thy arms
    Beside the rock, beware, lest darting forth
    Her num'rous heads, she seize with ev'ry mouth
    A Greecian, and with others, even thee.
    Pass therefore swift, and passing, loud invoke
    Cratais, mother of this plague of man,
    Who will forbid her to assail thee more.
    Thou, next, shalt reach Thrinacia; there, the beeves
    And fatted flocks graze num'rous of the Sun;
    Sev'n herds; as many flocks of snowy fleece;                     150
    Fifty in each; they breed not, neither die,
    Nor are they kept by less than Goddesses,
    Lampetia fair, and Phäethusa, both
    By nymph Neæra to Hyperion borne.
    Them, soon as she had train'd them to an age
    Proportion'd to that charge, their mother sent
    Into Thrinacia, there to dwell and keep
    Inviolate their father's flocks and herds.
    If, anxious for a safe return, thou spare
    Those herds and flocks, though after much endured,               160
    Ye may at last your Ithaca regain;
    But should'st thou violate them, I foretell
    Destruction of thy ship and of thy crew,
    And though thyself escape, thou shalt return
    Late, in ill plight, and all thy friends destroy'd.
      She ended, and the golden morning dawn'd.
    Then, all-divine, her graceful steps she turn'd
    Back through the isle, and, at the beach arrived,
    I summon'd all my followers to ascend
    The bark again, and cast the hawsers loose.                      170
    They, at my voice, embarking, fill'd in ranks
    The seats, and rowing, thresh'd the hoary flood.
    And now, melodious Circe, nymph divine,
    Sent after us a canvas-stretching breeze,
    Pleasant companion of our course, and we
    (The decks and benches clear'd) untoiling sat,
    While managed gales sped swift the bark along.
    Then, with dejected heart, thus I began.
      Oh friends! (for it is needful that not one
    Or two alone the admonition hear                                 180
    Of Circe, beauteous prophetess divine)
    To all I speak, that whether we escape
    Or perish, all may be, at least, forewarn'd.
    She bids us, first, avoid the dang'rous song
    Of the sweet Sirens and their flow'ry meads.
    Me only she permits those strains to hear;
    But ye shall bind me with coercion strong
    Of cordage well-secured to the mast-foot,
    And by no struggles to be loos'd of mine.
    But should I supplicate to be released                           190
    Or give such order, then, with added cords
    Be it your part to bind me still the more.
      Thus with distinct precaution I prepared
    My people; rapid in her course, meantime,
    My gallant bark approach'd the Sirens' isle,
    For brisk and favourable blew the wind.
    Then fell the wind suddenly, and serene
    A breathless calm ensued, while all around
    The billows slumber'd, lull'd by pow'r divine.
    Up-sprang my people, and the folded sails                        200
    Bestowing in the hold, sat to their oars,
    Which with their polish'd blades whiten'd the Deep.
    I, then, with edge of steel sev'ring minute
    A waxen cake, chafed it and moulded it
    Between my palms; ere long the ductile mass
    Grew warm, obedient to that ceaseless force,
    And to Hyperion's all-pervading beams.
    With that soft liniment I fill'd the ears
    Of my companions, man by man, and they
    My feet and arms with strong coercion bound                      210
    Of cordage to the mast-foot well secured.
    Then down they sat, and, rowing, thresh'd the brine.
    But when with rapid course we had arrived
    Within such distance as a voice may reach,
    Not unperceived by them the gliding bark
    Approach'd, and, thus, harmonious they began.
      Ulysses, Chief by ev'ry tongue extoll'd,
    Achaia's boast, oh hither steer thy bark!
    Here stay thy course, and listen to our lay!
    These shores none passes in his sable ship                       220
    Till, first, the warblings of our voice he hear,
    Then, happier hence and wiser he departs.
    All that the Greeks endured, and all the ills
    Inflicted by the Gods on Troy, we know,
    Know all that passes on the boundless earth.
      So they with voices sweet their music poured
    Melodious on my ear, winning with ease
    My heart's desire to listen, and by signs
    I bade my people, instant, set me free.
    But they incumbent row'd, and from their seats                   230
    Eurylochus and Perimedes sprang
    With added cords to bind me still the more.
    This danger past, and when the Sirens' voice,
    Now left remote, had lost its pow'r to charm,
    Then, my companions freeing from the wax
    Their ears, deliver'd me from my restraint.
    The island left afar, soon I discern'd
    Huge waves, and smoke, and horrid thund'rings heard.
    All sat aghast; forth flew at once the oars
    From ev'ry hand, and with a clash the waves                      240
    Smote all together; check'd, the galley stood,
    By billow-sweeping oars no longer urged,
    And I, throughout the bark, man after man
    Encouraged all, addressing thus my crew.
      We meet not, now, my friends, our first distress.
    This evil is not greater than we found
    When the huge Cyclops in his hollow den
    Imprison'd us, yet even thence we 'scaped,
    My intrepidity and fertile thought
    Opening the way; and we shall recollect                          250
    These dangers also, in due time, with joy.
    Come, then--pursue my counsel. Ye your seats
    Still occupying, smite the furrow'd flood
    With well-timed strokes, that by the will of Jove
    We may escape, perchance, this death, secure.
    To thee the pilot thus I speak, (my words
    Mark thou, for at thy touch the rudder moves)
    This smoke, and these tumultuous waves avoid;
    Steer wide of both; yet with an eye intent
    On yonder rock, lest unaware thou hold                           260
    Too near a course, and plunge us into harm.
      So I; with whose advice all, quick, complied.
    But Scylla I as yet named not, (that woe
    Without a cure) lest, terrified, my crew
    Should all renounce their oars, and crowd below.
    Just then, forgetful of the strict command
    Of Circe not to arm, I cloath'd me all
    In radiant armour, grasp'd two quiv'ring spears,
    And to the deck ascended at the prow,
    Expecting earliest notice there, what time                       270
    The rock-bred Scylla should annoy my friends.
    But I discern'd her not, nor could, although
    To weariness of sight the dusky rock
    I vigilant explored. Thus, many a groan
    Heaving, we navigated sad the streight,
    For here stood Scylla, while Charybdis there
    With hoarse throat deep absorb'd the briny flood.
    Oft as she vomited the deluge forth,
    Like water cauldron'd o'er a furious fire
    The whirling Deep all murmur'd, and the spray                    280
    On both those rocky summits fell in show'rs.
    But when she suck'd the salt wave down again,
    Then, all the pool appear'd wheeling about
    Within, the rock rebellow'd, and the sea
    Drawn off into that gulph disclosed to view
    The oozy bottom. Us pale horror seized.
    Thus, dreading death, with fast-set eyes we watch'd
    Charybdis; meantime, Scylla from the bark
    Caught six away, the bravest of my friends.
    With eyes, that moment, on my ship and crew                      290
    Retorted, I beheld the legs and arms
    Of those whom she uplifted in the air;
    On me they call'd, my name, the last, last time
    Pronouncing then, in agony of heart.
    As when from some bold point among the rocks
    The angler, with his taper rod in hand,
    Casts forth his bait to snare the smaller fry,
    He swings away remote his guarded line,[56]
    Then jerks his gasping prey forth from the Deep,
    So Scylla them raised gasping to the rock,                       300
    And at her cavern's mouth devour'd them loud-
    Shrieking, and stretching forth to me their arms
    In sign of hopeless mis'ry. Ne'er beheld
    These eyes in all the seas that I have roam'd,
    A sight so piteous, nor in all my toils.
      From Scylla and Charybdis dire escaped,
    We reach'd the noble island of the Sun
    Ere long, where bright Hyperion's beauteous herds
    Broad-fronted grazed, and his well-batten'd flocks.
    I, in the bark and on the sea, the voice                         310
    Of oxen bellowing in hovels heard,
    And of loud-bleating sheep; then dropp'd the word
    Into my memory of the sightless Seer,
    Theban Tiresias, and the caution strict
    Of Circe, my Ææan monitress,
    Who with such force had caution'd me to avoid
    The island of the Sun, joy of mankind.
    Thus then to my companions, sad, I spake.
      Hear ye, my friends! although long time distress'd,
    The words prophetic of the Theban seer                           320
    And of Ææan Circe, whose advice
    Was oft repeated to me to avoid
    This island of the Sun, joy of mankind.
    There, said the Goddess, dread your heaviest woes,
    Pass the isle, therefore, scudding swift away.
      I ceased; they me with consternation heard,
    And harshly thus Eurylochus replied.
      Ulysses, ruthless Chief! no toils impair
    Thy strength, of senseless iron thou art form'd,
    Who thy companions weary and o'erwatch'd                         330
    Forbidd'st to disembark on this fair isle,
    Where now, at last, we might with ease regale.
    Thou, rash, command'st us, leaving it afar,
    To roam all night the Ocean's dreary waste;
    But winds to ships injurious spring by night,
    And how shall we escape a dreadful death
    If, chance, a sudden gust from South arise
    Or stormy West, that dash in pieces oft
    The vessel, even in the Gods' despight?
    Prepare we rather now, as night enjoins,                         340
    Our evening fare beside the sable bark,
    In which at peep of day we may again
    Launch forth secure into the boundless flood.
      He ceas'd, whom all applauded. Then I knew
    That sorrow by the will of adverse heav'n
    Approach'd, and in wing'd accents thus replied.
      I suffer force, Eurylochus! and yield
    O'er-ruled by numbers. Come, then, swear ye all
    A solemn oath, that should we find an herd
    Or num'rous flock, none here shall either sheep                  350
    Or bullock slay, by appetite profane
    Seduced, but shall the viands eat content
    Which from immortal Circe we received.
      I spake; they readily a solemn oath
    Sware all, and when their oath was fully sworn,
    Within a creek where a fresh fountain rose
    They moor'd the bark, and, issuing, began
    Brisk preparation of their evening cheer.
    But when nor hunger now nor thirst remain'd
    Unsated, recollecting, then, their friends                       360
    By Scylla seized and at her cave devour'd,
    They mourn'd, nor ceased to mourn them, till they slept.
    The night's third portion come, when now the stars
    Had travers'd the mid-sky, cloud-gath'rer Jove
    Call'd forth a vehement wind with tempest charged,
    Menacing earth and sea with pitchy clouds
    Tremendous, and the night fell dark from heav'n.
    But when Aurora, daughter of the day,
    Look'd rosy forth, we haled, drawn inland more,
    Our bark into a grot, where nymphs were wont                     370
    Graceful to tread the dance, or to repose.
    Convening there my friends, I thus began.
      My friends! food fails us not, but bread is yet
    And wine on board. Abstain we from the herds,
    Lest harm ensue; for ye behold the flocks
    And herds of a most potent God, the Sun!
    Whose eye and watchful ear none may elude.
      So saying, I sway'd the gen'rous minds of all.
    A month complete the South wind ceaseless blew,
    Nor other wind blew next, save East and South,                   380
    Yet they, while neither food nor rosy wine
    Fail'd them, the herds harm'd not, through fear to die.
    But, our provisions failing, they employed
    Whole days in search of food, snaring with hooks
    Birds, fishes, of what kind soe'er they might.
    By famine urged. I solitary roam'd
    Meantime the isle, seeking by pray'r to move
    Some God to shew us a deliv'rance thence.
    When, roving thus the isle, I had at length
    Left all my crew remote, laving my hands                         390
    Where shelter warm I found from the rude blast,
    I supplicated ev'ry Pow'r above;
    But they my pray'rs answer'd with slumbers soft
    Shed o'er my eyes, and with pernicious art
    Eurylochus, the while, my friends harangued.
      My friends! afflicted as ye are, yet hear
    A fellow-suff'rer. Death, however caused,
    Abhorrence moves in miserable man,
    But death by famine is a fate of all
    Most to be fear'd. Come--let us hither drive                     400
    And sacrifice to the Immortal Pow'rs
    The best of all the oxen of the Sun,
    Resolving thus--that soon as we shall reach
    Our native Ithaca, we will erect
    To bright Hyperion an illustrious fane,
    Which with magnificent and num'rous gifts
    We will enrich. But should he chuse to sink
    Our vessel, for his stately beeves incensed,
    And should, with him, all heav'n conspire our death,
    I rather had with open mouth, at once,                           410
    Meeting the billows, perish, than by slow
    And pining waste here in this desert isle.
      So spake Eurylochus, whom all approved.
    Then, driving all the fattest of the herd
    Few paces only, (for the sacred beeves
    Grazed rarely distant from the bark) they stood
    Compassing them around, and, grasping each
    Green foliage newly pluck'd from saplings tall,
    (For barley none in all our bark remain'd)
    Worshipp'd the Gods in pray'r. Pray'r made, they slew
    And flay'd them, and the thighs with double fat                  421
    Investing, spread them o'er with slices crude.
    No wine had they with which to consecrate
    The blazing rites, but with libation poor
    Of water hallow'd the interior parts.
    Now, when the thighs were burnt, and each had shared
    His portion of the maw, and when the rest
    All-slash'd and scored hung roasting at the fire,
    Sleep, in that moment, suddenly my eyes
    Forsaking, to the shore I bent my way.                           430
    But ere the station of our bark I reach'd,
    The sav'ry steam greeted me. At the scent
    I wept aloud, and to the Gods exclaim'd.
      Oh Jupiter, and all ye Pow'rs above!
    With cruel sleep and fatal ye have lull'd
    My cares to rest, such horrible offence
    Meantime my rash companions have devised.
      Then, flew long-stoled Lampetia to the Sun
    At once with tidings of his slaughter'd beeves,
    And he, incensed, the Immortals thus address'd.                  440
      Jove, and ye everlasting Pow'rs divine!
    Avenge me instant on the crew profane
    Of Laertiades; Ulysses' friends
    Have dared to slay my beeves, which I with joy
    Beheld, both when I climb'd the starry heav'ns,
    And when to earth I sloped my "westring wheels,"
    But if they yield me not amercement due
    And honourable for my loss, to Hell
    I will descend and give the ghosts my beams.
      Then, thus the cloud-assembler God replied.                    450
    Sun! shine thou still on the Immortal Pow'rs,
    And on the teeming earth, frail man's abode.
    My candent bolts can in a moment reach
    And split their flying bark in the mid-sea.
      These things Calypso told me, taught, herself,
    By herald Hermes, as she oft affirm'd.
      But when, descending to the shore, I reach'd
    At length my bark, with aspect stern and tone
    I reprimanded them, yet no redress
    Could frame, or remedy--the beeves were dead.                    460
    Soon follow'd signs portentous sent from heav'n.
    The skins all crept, and on the spits the flesh
    Both roast and raw bellow'd, as with the voice
    Of living beeves. Thus my devoted friends
    Driving the fattest oxen of the Sun,
    Feasted six days entire; but when the sev'nth
    By mandate of Saturnian Jove appeared,
    The storm then ceased to rage, and we, again
    Embarking, launch'd our galley, rear'd the mast,
    And gave our unfurl'd canvas to the wind.                        470
      The island left afar, and other land
    Appearing none, but sky alone and sea,
    Right o'er the hollow bark Saturnian Jove
    Hung a cærulean cloud, dark'ning the Deep.
    Not long my vessel ran, for, blowing wild,
    Now came shrill Zephyrus; a stormy gust
    Snapp'd sheer the shrouds on both sides; backward fell
    The mast, and with loose tackle strew'd the hold;
    Striking the pilot in the stern, it crush'd
    His scull together; he a diver's plunge                          480
    Made downward, and his noble spirit fled.
    Meantime, Jove thund'ring, hurl'd into the ship
    His bolts; she, smitten by the fires of Jove,
    Quaked all her length; with sulphur fill'd she reek'd,
    And o'er her sides headlong my people plunged
    Like sea-mews, interdicted by that stroke
    Of wrath divine to hope their country more.
    But I, the vessel still paced to and fro,
    Till, fever'd by the boist'rous waves, her sides
    Forsook the keel now left to float alone.                        490
    Snapp'd where it join'd the keel the mast had fall'n,
    But fell encircled with a leathern brace,
    Which it retain'd; binding with this the mast
    And keel together, on them both I sat,
    Borne helpless onward by the dreadful gale.
    And now the West subsided, and the South
    Arose instead, with mis'ry charged for me,
    That I might measure back my course again
    To dire Charybdis. All night long I drove,
    And when the sun arose, at Scylla's rock                         500
    Once more, and at Charybdis' gulph arrived.
    It was the time when she absorb'd profound
    The briny flood, but by a wave upborne
    I seized the branches fast of the wild-fig.[57]
    To which, bat-like, I clung; yet where to fix
    My foot secure found not, or where to ascend,
    For distant lay the roots, and distant shot
    The largest arms erect into the air,
    O'ershadowing all Charybdis; therefore hard
    I clench'd the boughs, till she disgorg'd again                  510
    Both keel and mast. Not undesired by me
    They came, though late; for at what hour the judge,
    After decision made of num'rous strifes[58]
    Between young candidates for honour, leaves
    The forum for refreshment' sake at home,
    Then was it that the mast and keel emerged.
    Deliver'd to a voluntary fall,
    Fast by those beams I dash'd into the flood,
    And seated on them both, with oary palms
    Impell'd them; nor the Sire of Gods and men                      520
    Permitted Scylla to discern me more,
    Else had I perish'd by her fangs at last.
    Nine days I floated thence, and, on the tenth
    Dark night, the Gods convey'd me to the isle
    Ogygia, habitation of divine
    Calypso, by whose hospitable aid
    And assiduity, my strength revived.
    But wherefore this? ye have already learn'd
    That hist'ry, thou and thy illustrious spouse;
    I told it yesterday, and hate a tale                             530
    Once amply told, then, needless, traced again.


FOOTNOTES:

[56] They passed the line through a pipe of horn, to secure it against
the fishes' bite.

[57] See line 120.

[58] He had therefore held by the fig-tree from sunrise till afternoon.




BOOK XIII

ARGUMENT

Ulysses, having finished his narrative, and received additional presents
from the Phæacians, embarks; he is conveyed in his sleep to Ithaca, and
in his sleep is landed on that island. The ship that carried him is in
her return transformed by Neptune to a rock.

Minerva meets him on the shore, enables him to recollect his country,
which, till enlightened by her, he believed to be a country strange to
him, and they concert together the means of destroying the suitors. The
Goddess then repairs to Sparta to call thence Telemachus, and Ulysses, by
her aid disguised like a beggar, proceeds towards the cottage of Eumæus.


    He ceas'd; the whole assembly silent sat,
    Charm'd into ecstacy with his discourse
    Throughout the twilight hall. Then, thus the King.
      Ulysses, since beneath my brazen dome
    Sublime thou hast arrived, like woes, I trust,
    Thou shalt not in thy voyage hence sustain
    By tempests tost, though much to woe inured.
    To you, who daily in my presence quaff
    Your princely meed of gen'rous wine and hear
    The sacred bard, my pleasure, thus I speak.                       10
    The robes, wrought gold, and all the other gifts
    To this our guest, by the Phæacian Chiefs
    Brought hither in the sumptuous coffer lie.
    But come--present ye to the stranger, each,
    An ample tripod also, with a vase
    Of smaller size, for which we will be paid
    By public impost; for the charge of all
    Excessive were by one alone defray'd.
      So spake Alcinoüs, and his counsel pleased;
    Then, all retiring, sought repose at home.                        20
    But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn,
    Look'd rosy forth, each hasted to the bark
    With his illustrious present, which the might
    Of King Alcinoüs, who himself her sides
    Ascended, safe beneath the seats bestowed,
    Lest it should harm or hinder, while he toil'd
    In rowing, some Phæacian of the crew.
    The palace of Alcinoüs seeking next,
    Together, they prepared a new regale.
      For them, in sacrifice, the sacred might[59]                    30
    Of King Alcinoüs slew an ox to Jove
    Saturnian, cloud-girt governor of all.
    The thighs with fire prepared, all glad partook
    The noble feast; meantime, the bard divine
    Sang, sweet Demodocus, the people's joy.
    But oft Ulysses to the radiant sun
    Turn'd wistful eyes, anxious for his decline,
    Nor longer, now, patient of dull delay.
    As when some hungry swain whose sable beeves
    Have through the fallow dragg'd his pond'rous plow                40
    All day, the setting sun views with delight
    For supper' sake, which with tir'd feet he seeks,
    So welcome to Ulysses' eyes appear'd
    The sun-set of that eve; directing, then,
    His speech to maritime Phæacia's sons,
    But to Alcinoüs chiefly, thus he said.
      Alcinoüs, o'er Phæacia's realm supreme!
    Libation made, dismiss ye me in peace,
    And farewell all! for what I wish'd, I have,
    Conductors hence, and honourable gifts                            50
    With which heav'n prosper me! and may the Gods
    Vouchsafe to me, at my return, to find
    All safe, my spotless consort and my friends!
    May ye, whom here I leave, gladden your wives
    And see your children blest, and may the pow'rs
    Immortal with all good enrich you all,
    And from calamity preserve the land!
      He ended, they unanimous, his speech
    Applauded loud, and bade dismiss the guest
    Who had so wisely spoken and so well.                             60
    Then thus Alcinoüs to his herald spake.
      Pontonoüs! charging high the beaker, bear
    To ev'ry guest beneath our roof the wine,
    That, pray'r preferr'd to the eternal Sire,
    We may dismiss our inmate to his home.
      Then, bore Pontonoüs to ev'ry guest
    The brimming cup; they, where they sat, perform'd
    Libation due; but the illustrious Chief
    Ulysses, from his seat arising, placed
    A massy goblet in Areta's hand,                                   70
    To whom in accents wing'd, grateful, he said.
      Farewell, O Queen, a long farewell, till age
    Arrive, and death, the appointed lot of all!
    I go; but be this people, and the King
    Alcinoüs, and thy progeny, thy joy
    Yet many a year beneath this glorious roof!
      So saying, the Hero through the palace-gate
    Issued, whom, by Alcinoüs' command,
    The royal herald to his vessel led.
    Three maidens also of Areta's train                               80
    His steps attended; one, the robe well-bleach'd
    And tunic bore; the corded coffer, one;
    And food the third, with wine of crimson hue.
    Arriving where the galley rode, each gave
    Her charge to some brave mariner on board,
    And all was safely stow'd. Meantime were spread
    Linen and arras on the deck astern,
    For his secure repose. And now the Chief
    Himself embarking, silent lay'd him down.
    Then, ev'ry rower to his bench repair'd;                          90
    They drew the loosen'd cable from its hold
    In the drill'd rock, and, resupine, at once
    With lusty strokes upturn'd the flashing waves.
    _His_ eye-lids, soon, sleep, falling as a dew,
    Closed fast, death's simular, in sight the same.
    She, as four harness'd stallions o'er the plain
    Shooting together at the scourge's stroke,
    Toss high their manes, and rapid scour along,
    So mounted she the waves, while dark the flood
    Roll'd after her of the resounding Deep.                         100
    Steady she ran and safe, passing in speed
    The falcon, swiftest of the fowls of heav'n;
    With such rapidity she cut the waves,
    An hero bearing like the Gods above
    In wisdom, one familiar long with woe
    In fight sustain'd, and on the perilous flood,
    Though sleeping now serenely, and resign'd
    To sweet oblivion of all sorrow past.
    The brightest star of heav'n, precursor chief
    Of day-spring, now arose, when at the isle                       110
    (Her voyage soon perform'd) the bark arrived.
      There is a port sacred in Ithaca
    To Phorcys, hoary ancient of the Deep,
    Form'd by converging shores, prominent both
    And both abrupt, which from the spacious bay
    Exclude all boist'rous winds; within it, ships
    (The port once gain'd) uncabled ride secure.
    An olive, at the haven's head, expands
    Her branches wide, near to a pleasant cave
    Umbrageous, to the nymphs devoted named                          120
    The Naiads. In that cave beakers of stone
    And jars are seen; bees lodge their honey there;
    And there, on slender spindles of the rock
    The nymphs of rivers weave their wond'rous robes.
    Perennial springs water it, and it shows
    A twofold entrance; ingress one affords
    To mortal man, which Northward looks direct,
    But holier is the Southern far; by that
    No mortal enters, but the Gods alone.
    Familiar with that port before, they push'd                      130
    The vessel in; she, rapid, plow'd the sands
    With half her keel, such rowers urged her on.
    Descending from the well-bench'd bark ashore,
    They lifted forth Ulysses first, with all
    His splendid couch complete, then, lay'd him down
    Still wrapt in balmy slumber on the sands.
    His treasures, next, by the Phæacian Chiefs
    At his departure given him as the meed
    Due to his wisdom, at the olive's foot
    They heap'd, without the road, lest, while he slept              140
    Some passing traveller should rifle them.
    Then homeward thence they sped. Nor Ocean's God
    His threats forgot denounced against divine
    Ulysses, but with Jove thus first advised.
      Eternal Sire! I shall no longer share
    Respect and reverence among the Gods,
    Since, now, Phæacia's mortal race have ceas'd
    To honour me, though from myself derived.
    It was my purpose, that by many an ill
    Harass'd, Ulysses should have reach'd his home,                  150
    Although to intercept him, whose return
    Thyself had promis'd, ne'er was my intent.
    But him fast-sleeping swiftly o'er the waves
    They have conducted, and have set him down
    In Ithaca, with countless gifts enrich'd,
    With brass, and tissued raiment, and with gold;
    Much treasure! more than he had home convey'd
    Even had he arrived with all his share
    Allotted to him of the spoils of Troy.
      To whom the cloud-assembler God replied.                       160
    What hast thou spoken, Shaker of the shores,
    Wide-ruling Neptune? Fear not; thee the Gods
    Will ne'er despise; dangerous were the deed
    To cast dishonour on a God by birth
    More ancient, and more potent far than they.
    But if, profanely rash, a mortal man
    Should dare to slight thee, to avenge the wrong
    Some future day is ever in thy pow'r.
    Accomplish all thy pleasure, thou art free.
      Him answer'd, then, the Shaker of the shores.                  170
    Jove cloud-enthroned! that pleasure I would soon
    Perform, as thou hast said, but that I watch
    Thy mind continual, fearful to offend.
    My purpose is, now to destroy amid
    The dreary Deep yon fair Phæacian bark,
    Return'd from safe conveyance of her freight;
    So shall they waft such wand'rers home no more,
    And she shall hide their city, to a rock
    Transform'd of mountainous o'ershadowing size.
      Him, then, Jove answer'd, gath'rer of the clouds.              180
    Perform it, O my brother, and the deed
    Thus done, shall best be done--What time the people
    Shall from the city her approach descry,
    Fix her to stone transform'd, but still in shape
    A gallant bark, near to the coast, that all
    May wonder, seeing her transform'd to stone
    Of size to hide their city from the view.
      These words once heard, the Shaker of the shores
    Instant to Scheria, maritime abode
    Of the Phæacians, went. Arrived, he watch'd.                     190
    And now the flying bark full near approach'd,
    When Neptune, meeting her, with out-spread palm
    Depress'd her at a stroke, and she became
    Deep-rooted stone. Then Neptune went his way.
    Phæacia's ship-ennobled sons meantime
    Conferring stood, and thus, in accents wing'd,
    Th' amazed spectator to his fellow spake.
      Ah! who hath sudden check'd the vessel's course
    Homeward? this moment she was all in view.
      Thus they, unconscious of the cause, to whom                   200
    Alcinoüs, instructing them, replied.
      Ye Gods! a prophecy now strikes my mind
    With force, my father's. He was wont to say--
    Neptune resents it, that we safe conduct
    Natives of ev'ry region to their home.
    He also spake, prophetic, of a day
    When a Phæacian gallant bark, return'd
    After conveyance of a stranger hence,
    Should perish in the dreary Deep, and changed
    To a huge mountain, cover all the town.                          210
      So spake my father, all whose words we see
    This day fulfill'd. Thus, therefore, act we all
    Unanimous; henceforth no longer bear
    The stranger home, when such shall here arrive;
    And we will sacrifice, without delay,
    Twelve chosen bulls to Neptune, if, perchance,
    He will commiserate us, and forbear
    To hide our town behind a mountain's height.
      He spake, they, terrified, the bulls prepared.
    Thus all Phæacia's Senators and Chiefs                           220
    His altar compassing, in pray'r adored
    The Ocean's God. Meantime, Ulysses woke,
    Unconscious where; stretch'd on his native soil
    He lay, and knew it not, long-time exiled.
    For Pallas, progeny of Jove, a cloud
    Drew dense around him, that, ere yet agnized
    By others, he might wisdom learn from her,
    Neither to citizens, nor yet to friends
    Reveal'd, nor even to his own espoused,
    Till, first, he should avenge complete his wrongs                230
    Domestic from those suitors proud sustained.
    All objects, therefore, in the Hero's eyes
    Seem'd alien, foot-paths long, commodious ports,
    Heav'n-climbing rocks, and trees of amplest growth.
    Arising, fixt he stood, his native soil
    Contemplating, till with expanded palms
    Both thighs he smote, and, plaintive, thus began.
      Ah me! what mortal race inhabits here?
    Rude are they, contumacious and unjust,
    Or hospitable, and who fear the Gods?                            240
    Where now shall I secrete these num'rous stores?
    Where wander I, myself? I would that still
    Phæacians own'd them, and I had arrived
    In the dominions of some other King
    Magnanimous, who would have entertain'd
    And sent me to my native home secure!
    Now, neither know I where to place my wealth,
    Nor can I leave it here, lest it become
    Another's prey. Alas! Phæacia's Chiefs
    Not altogether wise I deem or just,                              250
    Who have misplaced me in another land,
    Promis'd to bear me to the pleasant shores
    Of Ithaca, but have not so perform'd.
    Jove, guardian of the suppliant's rights, who all
    Transgressors marks, and punishes all wrong,
    Avenge me on the treach'rous race!--but hold--
    I will revise my stores, so shall I know
    If they have left me here of aught despoiled.
      So saying, he number'd carefully the gold,
    The vases, tripods bright, and tissued robes,                    260
    But nothing miss'd of all. Then he bewail'd
    His native isle, with pensive steps and slow
    Pacing the border of the billowy flood,
    Forlorn; but while he wept, Pallas approach'd,
    In form a shepherd stripling, girlish fair
    In feature, such as are the sons of Kings;
    A sumptuous mantle o'er his shoulders hung
    Twice-folded, sandals his nice feet upbore,
    And a smooth javelin glitter'd in his hand.
    Ulysses, joyful at the sight, his steps                          270
    Turn'd brisk toward her, whom he thus address'd.
      Sweet youth! since thee, of all mankind, I first
    Encounter in this land unknown, all hail!
    Come not with purposes of harm to me!
    These save, and save me also. I prefer
    To thee, as to some God, my pray'r, and clasp
    Thy knees a suppliant. Say, and tell me true,
    What land? what people? who inhabit here?
    Is this some isle delightful, or a shore
    Of fruitful main-land sloping to the sea?                        280
      Then Pallas, thus, Goddess cærulean-eyed.
    Stranger! thou sure art simple, or hast dwelt
    Far distant hence, if of this land thou ask.
    It is not, trust me, of so little note,
    But known to many, both to those who dwell
    Toward the sun-rise, and to others placed
    Behind it, distant in the dusky West.
    Rugged it is, not yielding level course
    To the swift steed, and yet no barren spot,
    However small, but rich in wheat and wine;                       290
    Nor wants it rain or fertilising dew,
    But pasture green to goats and beeves affords,
    Trees of all kinds, and fountains never dry.
    Ithaca therefore, stranger, is a name
    Known ev'n at Troy, a city, by report,
    At no small distance from Achaia's shore.
      The Goddess ceased; then, toil-enduring Chief
    Ulysses, happy in his native land,
    (So taught by Pallas, progeny of Jove)
    In accents wing'd her answ'ring, utter'd prompt                  300
    Not truth, but figments to truth opposite,
    For guile, in him, stood never at a pause.
      O'er yonder flood, even in spacious Crete[60]
    I heard of Ithaca, where now, it seems,
    I have, myself, with these my stores arrived;
    Not richer stores than, flying thence, I left
    To my own children; for from Crete I fled
    For slaughter of Orsilochus the swift,
    Son of Idomeneus, whom none in speed
    Could equal throughout all that spacious isle.                   310
    His purpose was to plunder me of all
    My Trojan spoils, which to obtain, much woe
    I had in battle and by storms endured,
    For that I would not gratify his Sire,
    Fighting beside him in the fields of Troy,
    But led a diff'rent band. Him from the field
    Returning homeward, with my brazen spear
    I smote, in ambush waiting his return
    At the road-side, with a confed'rate friend.
    Unwonted darkness over all the heav'ns                           320
    That night prevailed, nor any eye of man
    Observed us, but, unseen, I slew the youth.
    No sooner, then, with my sharp spear of life
    I had bereft him, than I sought a ship
    Mann'd by renown'd Phæacians, whom with gifts
    Part of my spoils, and by requests, I won.
    I bade them land me on the Pylian shore,
    Or in fair Elis by th' Epeans ruled,
    But they, reluctant, were by violent winds
    Driv'n devious thence, for fraud they purposed none.             330
    Thus through constraint we here arrived by night,
    And with much difficulty push'd the ship
    Into safe harbour, nor was mention made
    Of food by any, though all needed food,
    But, disembark'd in haste, on shore we lay.
    I, weary, slept profound, and they my goods
    Forth heaving from the bark, beside me placed
    The treasures on the sea-beach where I slept,
    Then, reimbarking, to the populous coast
    Steer'd of Sidonia, and me left forlorn.                         340
      He ceased; then smiled Minerva azure-eyed
    And stroaked his cheek, in form a woman now,
    Beauteous, majestic, in all elegant arts
    Accomplish'd, and with accents wing'd replied.
      Who passes thee in artifice well-framed
    And in imposture various, need shall find
    Of all his policy, although a God.
    Canst thou not cease, inventive as thou art
    And subtle, from the wiles which thou hast lov'd
    Since thou wast infant, and from tricks of speech                350
    Delusive, even in thy native land?
    But come, dismiss we these ingenious shifts
    From our discourse, in which we both excel;
    For thou of all men in expedients most
    Abound'st and eloquence, and I, throughout
    All heav'n have praise for wisdom and for art.
    And know'st thou not thine Athenæan aid,
    Pallas, Jove's daughter, who in all thy toils
    Assist thee and defend? I gave thee pow'r
    T' engage the hearts of all Phæacia's sons,                      360
    And here arrive ev'n now, counsels to frame
    Discrete with thee, and to conceal the stores
    Giv'n to thee by the rich Phæacian Chiefs
    On my suggestion, at thy going thence.
    I will inform thee also what distress
    And hardship under thy own palace-roof
    Thou must endure; which, since constraint enjoins,
    Bear patiently, and neither man apprize
    Nor woman that thou hast arrived forlorn
    And vagabond, but silent undergo                                 370
    What wrongs soever from the hands of men.
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    O Goddess! thou art able to elude,
    Wherever met, the keenest eye of man,
    For thou all shapes assum'st; yet this I know
    Certainly, that I ever found thee kind,
    Long as Achaia's Heroes fought at Troy;
    But when (the lofty tow'rs of Priam laid
    In dust) we re-embark'd, and by the will
    Of heav'n Achaia's fleet was scatter'd wide,                     380
    Thenceforth, O daughter wise of Jove, I thee
    Saw not, nor thy appearance in my ship
    Once mark'd, to rid me of my num'rous woes,
    But always bearing in my breast a heart
    With anguish riv'n, I roam'd, till by the Gods
    Relieved at length, and till with gracious words
    Thyself didst in Phæacia's opulent land
    Confirm my courage, and becam'st my guide.
    But I adjure thee in thy father's name--
    O tell me truly, (for I cannot hope                              390
    That I have reach'd fair Ithaca; I tread
    Some other soil, and thou affirm'st it mine
    To mock me merely, and deceive) oh say--
    Am I in Ithaca? in truth, at home?
      Thus then Minerva the cærulean-eyed.
    Such caution in thy breast always prevails
    Distrustful; but I know thee eloquent,
    With wisdom and with ready thought endued,
    And cannot leave thee, therefore, thus distress'd
    For what man, save Ulysses, new-return'd                         400
    After long wand'rings, would not pant to see
    At once his home, his children, and his wife?
    But thou preferr'st neither to know nor ask
    Concerning them, till some experience first
    Thou make of her whose wasted youth is spent
    In barren solitude, and who in tears
    Ceaseless her nights and woeful days consumes.
    I ne'er was ignorant, but well foreknew
    That not till after loss of all thy friends
    Thou should'st return; but loth I was to oppose                  410
    Neptune, my father's brother, sore incensed
    For his son's sake deprived of sight by thee.
    But, I will give thee proof--come now--survey
    These marks of Ithaca, and be convinced.
      This is the port of Phorcys, sea-born sage;
    That, the huge olive at the haven's head;
    Fast by it, thou behold'st the pleasant cove
    Umbrageous, to the nymphs devoted named
    The Naiads; this the broad-arch'd cavern is
    Where thou wast wont to offer to the nymphs                      420
    Many a whole hecatomb; and yonder stands
    The mountain Neritus with forests cloath'd.
      So saying, the Goddess scatter'd from before
    His eyes all darkness, and he knew the land.
    Then felt Ulysses, Hero toil-inured,
    Transport unutterable, seeing plain
    Once more his native isle. He kiss'd the glebe,
    And with uplifted hands the nymphs ador'd.
      Nymphs, Naiads, Jove's own daughters! I despair'd
    To see you more, whom yet with happy vows                        430
    I now can hail again. Gifts, as of old,
    We will hereafter at your shrines present,
    If Jove-born Pallas, huntress of the spoils,
    Grant life to me, and manhood to my son.
      Then Pallas, blue-eyed progeny of Jove.
    Take courage; trouble not thy mind with thoughts
    Now needless. Haste--delay not--far within
    This hallow'd cave's recess place we at once
    Thy precious stores, that they may thine remain,
    Then muse together on thy wisest course.                         440
      So saying, the Goddess enter'd deep the cave
    Caliginous, and its secret nooks explored
    From side to side; meantime, Ulysses brought
    All his stores into it, the gold, the brass,
    And robes magnificent, his gifts received
    From the Phæacians; safe he lodg'd them all,
    And Pallas, daughter of Jove Ægis-arm'd,
    Closed fast, herself, the cavern with a stone.
      Then, on the consecrated olive's root
    Both seated, they in consultation plann'd                        450
    The deaths of those injurious suitors proud,
    And Pallas, blue-eyed Goddess, thus began.
      Laertes' noble son, Ulysses! think
    By what means likeliest thou shalt assail
    Those shameless suitors, who have now controuled
    Three years thy family, thy matchless wife
    With language amorous and with spousal gifts
    Urging importunate; but she, with tears
    Watching thy wish'd return, hope gives to all
    By messages of promise sent to each,                             460
    Framing far other purposes the while.
      Then answer thus Ulysses wise return'd.
    Ah, Agamemnon's miserable fate
    Had surely met me in my own abode,
    But for thy gracious warning, pow'r divine!
    Come then--Devise the means; teach me, thyself,
    The way to vengeance, and my soul inspire
    With daring fortitude, as when we loos'd
    Her radiant frontlet from the brows of Troy.
    Would'st thou with equal zeal, O Pallas! aid                     470
    Thy servant here, I would encounter thrice
    An hundred enemies, let me but perceive
    Thy dread divinity my prompt ally.
      Him answer'd then Pallas cærulean-eyed.
    And such I will be; not unmark'd by me,
    (Let once our time of enterprize arrive)
    Shalt thou assail them. Many, as I judge,
    Of those proud suitors who devour thy wealth
    Shall leave their brains, then, on thy palace floor.
    But come. Behold! I will disguise thee so                        480
    That none shall know thee! I will parch the skin
    On thy fair body; I will cause thee shed
    Thy wavy locks; I will enfold thee round
    In such a kirtle as the eyes of all
    Shall loath to look on; and I will deform
    With blurring rheums thy eyes, so vivid erst;
    So shall the suitors deem thee, and thy wife,
    And thy own son whom thou didst leave at home,
    Some sordid wretch obscure. But seek thou first
    Thy swine-herd's mansion; he, alike, intends                     490
    Thy good, and loves, affectionate, thy son
    And thy Penelope; thou shalt find the swain
    Tending his herd; they feed beneath the rock
    Corax, at side of Arethusa's fount,
    On acorns dieted, nutritious food
    To them, and drinking of the limpid stream.
    There waiting, question him of thy concerns,
    While I from Sparta praised for women fair
    Call home thy son Telemachus, a guest
    With Menelaus now, whom to consult                               500
    In spacious Lacedæmon he is gone,
    Anxious to learn if yet his father lives.
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    And why, alas! all-knowing as thou art,
    Him left'st thou ignorant? was it that he,
    He also, wand'ring wide the barren Deep,
    Might suffer woe, while these devour his wealth?
      Him answer'd then Pallas cærulean-eyed.
    Grieve thou not much for him. I sent him forth
    Myself, that there arrived, he might acquire                     510
    Honour and fame. No suff'rings finds he there,
    But in Atrides' palace safe resides,
    Enjoying all abundance. Him, in truth,
    The suitors watch close ambush'd on the Deep,
    Intent to slay him ere he reach his home,
    But shall not as I judge, till of themselves
    The earth hide some who make thee, now, a prey.
      So saying, the Goddess touch'd him with a wand.
    At once o'er all his agile limbs she parch'd
    The polish'd skin; she wither'd to the root                      520
    His wavy locks; and cloath'd him with the hide
    Deform'd of wrinkled age; she charged with rheums
    His eyes before so vivid, and a cloak
    And kirtle gave him, tatter'd, both, and foul,
    And smutch'd with smoak; then, casting over all
    An huge old deer-skin bald, with a long staff
    She furnish'd him, and with a wallet patch'd
    On all sides, dangling by a twisted thong.
      Thus all their plan adjusted, diff'rent ways
    They took, and she, seeking Ulysses' son,                        530
    To Lacedæmon's spacious realm repair'd.


FOOTNOTES:

[59] Ἱερον μενος Αλκινοοιο.

[60] Homer dates all the fictions of Ulysses from Crete, as if he meant
to pass a similar censure on the Cretans to that quoted by St.
Paul--κρητες αει ψευσαι.




BOOK XIV

ARGUMENT

Ulysses arriving at the house of Eumæus, is hospitably entertained, and
spends the night there.


    Leaving the haven-side, he turn'd his steps
    Into a rugged path, which over hills
    Mantled with trees led him to the abode
    By Pallas mention'd of his noble friend[61]
    The swine-herd, who of all Ulysses' train
    Watch'd with most diligence his rural stores.
    Him sitting in the vestibule he found
    Of his own airy lodge commodious, built
    Amidst a level lawn. That structure neat
    Eumæus, in the absence of his Lord,                               10
    Had raised, himself, with stones from quarries hewn,
    Unaided by Laertes or the Queen.
    With tangled thorns he fenced it safe around,
    And with contiguous stakes riv'n from the trunks
    Of solid oak black-grain'd hemm'd it without.
    Twelve penns he made within, all side by side,
    Lairs for his swine, and fast-immured in each
    Lay fifty pregnant females on the floor.
    The males all slept without, less num'rous far,
    Thinn'd by the princely wooers at their feasts                    20
    Continual, for to them he ever sent
    The fattest of his saginated charge.
    Three hundred, still, and sixty brawns remained.
    Four mastiffs in adjoining kennels lay,
    Resembling wild-beasts nourish'd at the board
    Of the illustrious steward of the styes.
    Himself sat fitting sandals to his feet,
    Carved from a stain'd ox-hide. Four hinds he kept,
    Now busied here and there; three in the penns
    Were occupied; meantime, the fourth had sought                    30
    The city, whither, for the suitors' use,
    With no good will, but by constraint, he drove
    A boar, that, sacrificing to the Gods,
    Th' imperious guests might on his flesh regale.
      Soon as those clamorous watch-dogs the approach
    Saw of Ulysses, baying loud, they ran
    Toward him; he, as ever, well-advised,
    Squatted, and let his staff fall from his hand.
    Yet foul indignity he had endured
    Ev'n there, at his own farm, but that the swain,                  40
    Following his dogs in haste, sprang through the porch
    To his assistance, letting fall the hide.
    With chiding voice and vollied stones he soon
    Drove them apart, and thus his Lord bespake.
      Old man! one moment more, and these my dogs
    Had, past doubt, worried thee, who should'st have proved,
    So slain, a source of obloquy to me.
    But other pangs the Gods, and other woes
    To me have giv'n, who here lamenting sit
    My godlike master, and his fatted swine                           50
    Nourish for others' use, while he, perchance,
    A wand'rer in some foreign city, seeks
    Fit sustenance, and none obtains, if still
    Indeed he live, and view the light of day.
    But, old friend! follow me into the house,
    That thou, at least, with plenteous food refresh'd,
    And cheer'd with wine sufficient, may'st disclose
    Both who thou art, and all that thou hast borne.
      So saying, the gen'rous swine-herd introduced
    Ulysses, and thick bundles spread of twigs                        60
    Beneath him, cover'd with the shaggy skin
    Of a wild goat, of which he made his couch
    Easy and large; the Hero, so received,
    Rejoiced, and thus his gratitude express'd.
      Jove grant thee and the Gods above, my host,
    For such beneficence thy chief desire!
      To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.
    My guest! I should offend, treating with scorn
    The stranger, though a poorer should arrive
    Than ev'n thyself; for all the poor that are,                     70
    And all the strangers are the care of Jove.
    Little, and with good will, is all that lies
    Within my scope; no man can much expect
    From servants living in continual fear
    Under young masters; for the Gods, no doubt,
    Have intercepted my own Lord's return,
    From whom great kindness I had, else, received,
    With such a recompense as servants gain
    From gen'rous masters, house and competence,
    And lovely wife from many a wooer won,                            80
    Whose industry should have requited well
    His goodness, with such blessing from the Gods
    As now attends me in my present charge.
    Much had I, therefore, prosper'd, had my Lord
    Grown old at home; but he hath died--I would
    That the whole house of Helen, one and all,
    Might perish too, for she hath many slain
    Who, like my master, went glory to win
    For Agamemnon in the fields of Troy.
      So saying, he girdled, quick, his tunic close,                  90
    And, issuing, sought the styes; thence bringing two
    Of the imprison'd herd, he slaughter'd both,
    Singed them, and slash'd and spitted them, and placed
    The whole well-roasted banquet, spits and all,
    Reeking before Ulysses; last, with flour
    He sprinkled them, and filling with rich wine
    His ivy goblet, to his master sat
    Opposite, whom inviting thus he said.
      Now, eat, my guest! such as a servant may
    I set before thee, neither large of growth                       100
    Nor fat; the fatted--those the suitors eat,
    Fearless of heav'n, and pitiless of man.
    Yet deeds unjust as theirs the blessed Gods
    Love not; they honour equity and right.
    Even an hostile band when they invade
    A foreign shore, which by consent of Jove
    They plunder, and with laden ships depart,
    Even they with terrours quake of wrath divine.
    But these are wiser; these must sure have learn'd
    From some true oracle my master's death,                         110
    Who neither deign with decency to woo,
    Nor yet to seek their homes, but boldly waste
    His substance, shameless, now, and sparing nought.
    Jove ne'er hath giv'n us yet the night or day
    When with a single victim, or with two
    They would content them, and his empty jars
    Witness how fast the squand'rers use his wine.
    Time was, when he was rich indeed; such wealth
    No Hero own'd on yonder continent,
    Nor yet in Ithaca; no twenty Chiefs                              120
    Could match with all their treasures his alone;
    I tell thee their amount. Twelve herds of his
    The mainland graze;[62] as many flocks of sheep;
    As many droves of swine; and hirelings there
    And servants of his own seed for his use,
    As many num'rous flocks of goats; his goats,
    (Not fewer than eleven num'rous flocks)
    Here also graze the margin of his fields
    Under the eye of servants well-approved,
    And ev'ry servant, ev'ry day, brings home                        130
    The goat, of all his flock largest and best.
    But as for me, I have these swine in charge,
    Of which, selected with exactest care
    From all the herd, I send the prime to them.
      He ceas'd, meantime Ulysses ate and drank
    Voracious, meditating, mute, the death
    Of those proud suitors. His repast, at length,
    Concluded, and his appetite sufficed,
    Eumæus gave him, charged with wine, the cup
    From which he drank himself; he, glad, received                  140
    The boon, and in wing'd accents thus began.
      My friend, and who was he, wealthy and brave
    As thou describ'st the Chief, who purchased thee?
    Thou say'st he perish'd for the glory-sake
    Of Agamemnon. Name him; I, perchance,
    May have beheld the Hero. None can say
    But Jove and the inhabitants of heav'n
    That I ne'er saw him, and may not impart
    News of him; I have roam'd through many a clime.
      To whom the noble swine-herd thus replied.                     150
    Alas, old man! no trav'ler's tale of him
    Will gain his consort's credence, or his son's;
    For wand'rers, wanting entertainment, forge
    Falsehoods for bread, and wilfully deceive.
    No wand'rer lands in Ithaca, but he seeks
    With feign'd intelligence my mistress' ear;
    She welcomes all, and while she questions each
    Minutely, from her lids lets fall the tear
    Affectionate, as well beseems a wife
    Whose mate hath perish'd in a distant land.                      160
    Thou could'st thyself, no doubt, my hoary friend!
    (Would any furnish thee with decent vest
    And mantle) fabricate a tale with ease;
    Yet sure it is that dogs and fowls, long since,
    His skin have stript, or fishes of the Deep
    Have eaten him, and on some distant shore
    Whelm'd in deep sands his mould'ring bones are laid.
    So hath he perish'd; whence, to all his friends,
    But chiefly to myself, sorrow of heart;
    For such another Lord, gentle as he,                             170
    Wherever sought, I have no hope to find,
    Though I should wander even to the house
    Of my own father. Neither yearns my heart
    So feelingly (though that desiring too)
    To see once more my parents and my home,
    As to behold Ulysses yet again.
    Ah stranger; absent as he is, his name
    Fills me with rev'rence, for he lov'd me much,
    Cared for me much, and, though we meet no more,
    Holds still an elder brother's part in me.                       180
      Him answer'd, then, the Hero toil-inured.
    My friend! since his return, in thy account,
    Is an event impossible, and thy mind
    Always incredulous that hope rejects,
    I shall not slightly speak, but with an oath--
    Ulysses comes again; and I demand
    No more, than that the boon such news deserves,
    Be giv'n me soon as he shall reach his home.
    Then give me vest and mantle fit to wear,
    Which, ere that hour, much as I need them both,                  190
    I neither ask, nor will accept from thee.
    For him whom poverty can force aside
    From truth--I hate him as the gates of hell.
    Be Jove, of all in heav'n, my witness first,
    Then, this thy hospitable board, and, last,
    The household Gods of the illustrious Chief
    Himself, Ulysses, to whose gates I go,
    That all my words shall surely be fulfill'd.
    In this same year Ulysses shall arrive,
    Ere, this month closed, another month succeed,                   200
    He shall return, and punish all who dare
    Insult his consort and his noble son.
      To whom Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.
    Old friend! that boon thou wilt ne'er earn from me;
    Ulysses comes no more. But thou thy wine
    Drink quietly, and let us find, at length,
    Some other theme; recall not this again
    To my remembrance, for my soul is grieved
    Oft as reminded of my honour'd Lord.
    Let the oath rest, and let Ulysses come                          210
    Ev'n as myself, and as Penelope,
    And as his ancient father, and his son
    Godlike Telemachus, all wish he may.
    Ay--there I feel again--nor cease to mourn
    His son Telemachus; who, when the Gods
    Had giv'n him growth like a young plant, and I
    Well hoped that nought inferior he should prove
    In person or in mind to his own sire,
    Hath lost, through influence human or divine,
    I know not how, his sober intellect,                             220
    And after tidings of his sire is gone
    To far-famed Pylus; his return, meantime,
    In ambush hidden the proud suitors wait,
    That the whole house may perish of renown'd
    Arcesias, named in Ithaca no more.
    But whether he have fallen or 'scaped, let him
    Rest also, whom Saturnian Jove protect!
    But come, my ancient guest! now let me learn
    Thy own afflictions; answer me in truth.
    Who, and whence art thou? in what city born?                     230
    Where dwell thy parents; in what kind of ship
    Cam'st thou? the mariners, why brought they thee
    To Ithaca? and of what land are they?
    For, that on foot thou found'st us not, is sure.
      Him answer'd, then, Ulysses, ever-wise.
    I will with truth resolve thee; and if here
    Within thy cottage sitting, we had wine
    And food for many a day, and business none
    But to regale at ease while others toiled,
    I could exhaust the year complete, my woes                       240
    Rehearsing, nor, at last, rehearse entire
    My sorrows by the will of heav'n sustained.
      I boast me sprung from ancestry renown'd
    In spacious Crete; son of a wealthy sire,
    Who other sons train'd num'rous in his house,
    Born of his wedded wife; but he begat
    Me on his purchased concubine, whom yet
    Dear as his other sons in wedlock born
    Castor Hylacides esteem'd and lov'd,
    For him I boast my father. Him in Crete,                         250
    While yet he liv'd, all reverenc'd as a God,
    So rich, so prosp'rous, and so blest was he
    With sons of highest praise. But death, the doom
    Of all, him bore to Pluto's drear abode,
    And his illustrious sons among themselves
    Portion'd his goods by lot; to me, indeed,
    They gave a dwelling, and but little more,
    Yet, for my virtuous qualities, I won
    A wealthy bride, for I was neither vain
    Nor base, forlorn as thou perceiv'st me now.                     260
    But thou canst guess, I judge, viewing the straw
    What once was in the ear. Ah! I have borne
    Much tribulation; heap'd and heavy woes.
    Courage and phalanx-breaking might had I
    From Mars and Pallas; at what time I drew,
    (Planning some dread exploit) an ambush forth
    Of our most valiant Chiefs, no boding fears
    Of death seized _me_, but foremost far of all
    I sprang to fight, and pierced the flying foe.
    Such was I once in arms. But household toils                     270
    Sustain'd for children's sake, and carking cares
    T' enrich a family, were not for me.
    My pleasures were the gallant bark, the din
    Of battle, the smooth spear and glitt'ring shaft,
    Objects of dread to others, but which me
    The Gods disposed to love and to enjoy.
    Thus diff'rent minds are diff'rently amused;
    For ere Achaia's fleet had sailed to Troy,
    Nine times was I commander of an host
    Embark'd against a foreign foe, and found                        280
    In all those enterprizes great success.
    From the whole booty, first, what pleased me most
    Chusing, and sharing also much by lot
    I rapidly grew rich, and had thenceforth
    Among the Cretans rev'rence and respect.
    But when loud-thund'ring Jove that voyage dire
    Ordain'd, which loos'd the knees of many a Greek,
    Then, to Idomeneus and me they gave
    The charge of all their fleet, which how to avoid
    We found not, so importunate the cry                             290
    Of the whole host impell'd us to the task.
    There fought we nine long years, and in the tenth
    (Priam's proud city pillag'd) steer'd again
    Our galleys homeward, which the Gods dispersed.
    Then was it that deep-planning Jove devised
    For me much evil. One short month, no more,
    I gave to joys domestic, in my wife
    Happy, and in my babes, and in my wealth,
    When the desire seiz'd me with sev'ral ships
    Well-rigg'd, and furnish'd all with gallant crews,               300
    To sail for Ægypt; nine I fitted forth,
    To which stout mariners assembled fast.
    Six days the chosen partners of my voyage
    Feasted, to whom I num'rous victims gave
    For sacrifice, and for their own regale.
    Embarking on the sev'nth from spacious Crete,
    Before a clear breeze prosp'rous from the North
    We glided easily along, as down
    A river's stream; nor one of all my ships
    Damage incurr'd, but healthy and at ease                         310
    We sat, while gales well-managed urged us on.
    The fifth day thence, smooth-flowing Nile we reach'd,
    And safe I moor'd in the Ægyptian stream.
    Then, charging all my mariners to keep
    Strict watch for preservation of the ships,
    I order'd spies into the hill-tops; but they
    Under the impulse of a spirit rash
    And hot for quarrel, the well-cultur'd fields
    Pillaged of the Ægyptians, captive led
    Their wives and little ones, and slew the men.                   320
    Soon was the city alarm'd, and at the cry
    Down came the citizens, by dawn of day,
    With horse and foot, and with the gleam of arms
    Filling the plain. Then Jove with panic dread
    Struck all my people; none found courage more
    To stand, for mischiefs swarm'd on ev'ry side.
    There, num'rous by the glittering spear we fell
    Slaughter'd, while others they conducted thence
    Alive to servitude. But Jove himself
    My bosom with this thought inspired, (I would                    330
    That, dying, I had first fulfill'd my fate
    In Ægypt, for new woes were yet to come!)
    Loosing my brazen casque, and slipping off
    My buckler, there I left them on the field,
    Then cast my spear away, and seeking, next,
    The chariot of the sov'reign, clasp'd his knees,
    And kiss'd them. He, by my submission moved,
    Deliver'd me, and to his chariot-seat
    Raising, convey'd me weeping to his home.
    With many an ashen spear his warriors sought                     340
    To slay me, (for they now grew fiery wroth)
    But he, through fear of hospitable Jove,
    Chief punisher of wrong, saved me alive.
    Sev'n years I there abode, and much amass'd
    Among the Ægyptians, gifted by them all;
    But, in the eighth revolving year, arrived
    A shrewd Phœnician, in all fraud adept,
    Hungry, and who had num'rous harm'd before,
    By whom I also was cajoled, and lured
    T' attend him to Phœnicia, where his house                       350
    And his possessions lay; there I abode
    A year complete his inmate; but (the days
    And months accomplish'd of the rolling year,
    And the new seasons ent'ring on their course)
    To Lybia then, on board his bark, by wiles
    He won me with him, partner of the freight
    Profess'd, but destin'd secretly to sale,
    That he might profit largely by my price.
    Not unsuspicious, yet constrain'd to go,
    With this man I embark'd. A cloudless gale                       360
    Propitious blowing from the North, our ship
    Ran right before it through the middle sea,
    In the offing over Crete; but adverse Jove
    Destruction plann'd for them and death the while.
    For, Crete now left afar, and other land
    Appearing none, but sky alone and sea,
    Right o'er the hollow bark Saturnian Jove
    A cloud cærulean hung, dark'ning the Deep.
    Then, thund'ring oft, he hurl'd into the bark
    His bolts; she smitten by the fires of Jove,                     370
    Quaked all her length; with sulphur fill'd she reek'd,
    And, o'er her sides precipitated, plunged
    Like gulls the crew, forbidden by that stroke
    Of wrath divine to hope their country more.
    But Jove himself, when I had cast away
    All hope of life, conducted to my arms
    The strong tall mast, that I might yet escape.
    Around that beam I clung, driving before
    The stormy blast. Nine days complete I drove,
    And, on the tenth dark night, the rolling flood                  380
    Immense convey'd me to Thesprotia's shore.
    There me the Hero Phidon, gen'rous King
    Of the Thesprotians, freely entertained;
    For his own son discov'ring me with toil
    Exhausted and with cold, raised me, and thence
    Led me humanely to his father's house,
    Who cherish'd me, and gave me fresh attire.
    There heard I of Ulysses, whom himself
    Had entertain'd, he said, on his return
    To his own land; he shew'd me also gold,                         390
    Brass, and bright steel elab'rate, whatsoe'er
    Ulysses had amass'd, a store to feed
    A less illustrious family than his
    To the tenth generation, so immense
    His treasures in the royal palace lay.
    Himself, he said, was to Dodona gone,
    There, from the tow'ring oaks of Jove to ask
    Counsel divine, if openly to land
    (After long absence) in his opulent realm
    Of Ithaca, be best, or in disguise.                              400
    To me the monarch swore, in his own hall
    Pouring libation, that the ship was launch'd,
    And the crew ready for his conduct home.
    But me he first dismiss'd, for, as it chanced,
    A ship lay there of the Thesprotians, bound
    To green Dulichium's isle. He bade the crew
    Bear me to King Acastus with all speed;
    But them far other thoughts pleased more, and thoughts
    Of harm to me, that I might yet be plunged
    In deeper gulphs of woe than I had known.                        410
    For, when the billow-cleaving bark had left
    The land remote, framing, combined, a plot
    Against my liberty, they stripp'd my vest
    And mantle, and this tatter'd raiment foul
    Gave me instead, which thy own eyes behold.
    At even-tide reaching the cultur'd coast
    Of Ithaca, they left me bound on board
    With tackle of the bark, and quitting ship
    Themselves, made hasty supper on the shore.
    But me, meantime, the Gods easily loos'd                         420
    By their own pow'r, when, with wrapper vile
    Around my brows, sliding into the sea
    At the ship's stern, I lay'd me on the flood.
    With both hands oaring thence my course, I swam
    Till past all ken of theirs; then landing where
    Thick covert of luxuriant trees I mark'd,
    Close couchant down I lay; they mutt'ring loud,
    Paced to and fro, but deeming farther search
    Unprofitable, soon embark'd again.
    Thus baffling all their search with ease, the Gods               430
    Conceal'd and led me thence to the abode
    Of a wise man, dooming me still to live.
      To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply,
    Alas! my most compassionable guest!
    Thou hast much moved me by this tale minute
    Of thy sad wand'rings and thy num'rous woes.
    But, speaking of Ulysses, thou hast pass'd
    All credence; I at least can give thee none.
    Why, noble as thou art, should'st thou invent
    Palpable falsehoods? as for the return                           440
    Of my regretted Lord, myself I know
    That had he not been hated by the Gods
    Unanimous, he had in battle died
    At Troy, or (that long doubtful war, at last,
    Concluded,) in his people's arms at home.
    Then universal Greece had raised his tomb,
    And he had even for his son atchiev'd
    Immortal glory; but alas! by beaks
    Of harpies torn, unseemly sight, he lies.
    Here is my home the while; I never seek                          450
    The city, unless summon'd by discrete
    Penelope to listen to the news
    Brought by some stranger, whencesoe'er arrived.
    Then, all, alike inquisitive, attend,
    Both who regret the absence of our King,
    And who rejoice gratuitous to gorge
    His property; but as for me, no joy
    Find I in list'ning after such reports,
    Since an Ætolian cozen'd me, who found
    (After long wand'ring over various lands                         460
    A fugitive for blood) my lone retreat.
    Him warm I welcom'd, and with open arms
    Receiv'd, who bold affirm'd that he had seen
    My master with Idomeneus at Crete
    His ships refitting shatter'd by a storm,
    And that in summer with his godlike band
    He would return, bringing great riches home,
    Or else in autumn. And thou ancient guest
    Forlorn! since thee the Gods have hither led,
    Seek not to gratify me with untruths                             470
    And to deceive me, since for no such cause
    I shall respect or love thee, but alone
    By pity influenced, and the fear of Jove.
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    Thou hast, in truth, a most incredulous mind,
    Whom even with an oath I have not moved,
    Or aught persuaded. Come then--let us make
    In terms express a cov'nant, and the Gods
    Who hold Olympus, witness to us both!
    If thy own Lord at this thy house arrive,                        480
    Thou shalt dismiss me decently attired
    In vest and mantle, that I may repair
    Hence to Dulichium, whither I would go.
    But, if thy Lord come not, then, gath'ring all
    Thy servants, headlong hurl me from a rock,
    That other mendicants may fear to lie.
      To whom the generous swine-herd in return.
    Yes, stranger! doubtless I should high renown
    Obtain for virtue among men, both now
    And in all future times, if, having first                        490
    Invited thee, and at my board regaled,
    I, next, should slay thee; then my pray'rs would mount,
    Past question, swiftly to Saturnian Jove.
    But the hour calls to supper, and, ere long,
    The partners of my toils will come prepared
    To spread the board with no unsav'ry cheer.
      Thus they conferr'd. And now the swains arrived,
    Driving their charge, which fast they soon enclosed
    Within their customary penns, and loud
    The hubbub was of swine prison'd within.                         500
    Then call'd the master to his rustic train.
    Bring ye the best, that we may set him forth
    Before my friend from foreign climes arrived,
    With whom ourselves will also feast, who find
    The bright-tusk'd multitude a painful charge,
    While others, at no cost of theirs, consume
    Day after day, the profit of our toils.
      So saying, his wood for fuel he prepared,
    And dragging thither a well-fatted brawn
    Of the fifth year his servants held him fast                     510
    At the hearth-side. Nor failed the master swain
    T' adore the Gods, (for wise and good was he)
    But consecration of the victim, first,
    Himself performing, cast into the fire
    The forehead bristles of the tusky boar,
    Then pray'd to all above, that, safe, at length,
    Ulysses might regain his native home.
    Then lifting an huge shive that lay beside
    The fire, he smote the boar, and dead he fell,
    Next, piercing him, and scorching close his hair,                520
    They carv'd him quickly, and Eumæus spread
    Thin slices crude taken from ev'ry limb
    O'er all his fat, then other slices cast,
    Sprinkling them first with meal, into the fire.
    The rest they slash'd and scored, and roasted well,
    And placed it, heap'd together, on the board.
    Then rose the good Eumæus to his task
    Of distribution, for he understood
    The hospitable entertainer's part.
    Sev'n-fold partition of the banquet made,                        530
    He gave, with previous pray'r, to Maia's son[63]
    And to the nymphs one portion of the whole,
    Then served his present guests, honouring first
    Ulysses with the boar's perpetual chine;
    By that distinction just his master's heart
    He gratified, and thus the Hero spake.
      Eumæus! be thou as belov'd of Jove
    As thou art dear to me, whom, though attired
    So coarsely, thou hast served with such respect!
      To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.                        540
    Eat, noble stranger! and refreshment take
    Such as thou may'st; God[64] gives, and God denies
    At his own will, for He is Lord of all.
      He said, and to the everlasting Gods
    The firstlings sacrificed of all, then made
    Libation, and the cup placed in the hands
    Of city-spoiler Laertiades
    Sitting beside his own allotted share.
    Meantime, Mesaulius bread dispensed to all,
    Whom, in the absence of his Lord, himself                        550
    Eumæus had from Taphian traders bought
    With his own proper goods, at no expence
    Either to old Laertes or the Queen.
    And now, all stretch'd their hands toward the feast
    Reeking before them, and when hunger none
    Felt more or thirst, Mesaulius clear'd the board.
    Then, fed to full satiety, in haste
    Each sought his couch. Black came a moonless night,
    And Jove all night descended fast in show'rs,
    With howlings of the ever wat'ry West.                           560
    Ulysses, at that sound, for trial sake
    Of his good host, if putting off his cloak
    He would accommodate him, or require
    That service for him at some other hand,
    Addressing thus the family, began.
      Hear now, Eumæus, and ye other swains
    His fellow-lab'rers! I shall somewhat boast,
    By wine befool'd, which forces ev'n the wise
    To carol loud, to titter and to dance,
    And words to utter, oft, better suppress'd.                      570
    But since I have begun, I shall proceed,
    Prating my fill. Ah might those days return
    With all the youth and strength that I enjoy'd,
    When in close ambush, once, at Troy we lay!
    Ulysses, Menelaus, and myself
    Their chosen coadjutor, led the band.
    Approaching to the city's lofty wall
    Through the thick bushes and the reeds that gird
    The bulwarks, down we lay flat in the marsh,
    Under our arms, then Boreas blowing loud,                        580
    A rueful night came on, frosty and charged
    With snow that blanch'd us thick as morning rime,
    And ev'ry shield with ice was crystall'd o'er.
    The rest with cloaks and vests well cover'd, slept
    Beneath their bucklers; I alone my cloak,
    Improvident, had left behind, no thought
    Conceiving of a season so severe;
    Shield and belt, therefore, and nought else had I.
    The night, at last, nigh spent, and all the stars
    Declining in their course, with elbow thrust                     590
    Against Ulysses' side I roused the Chief,
    And thus address'd him ever prompt to hear.
      Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd!
    I freeze to death. Help me, or I am lost.
    No cloak have I; some evil dæmon, sure,
    Beguil'd me of all prudence, that I came
    Thus sparely clad; I shall, I must expire.
      So I; he, ready as he was in arms
    And counsel both, the remedy at once
    Devised, and thus, low-whisp'ring, answer'd me.                  600
      Hush! lest perchance some other hear--He said,
    And leaning on his elbow, spake aloud.
      My friends! all hear--a monitory dream
    Hath reach'd me, for we lie far from the ships.
    Haste, therefore, one of you, with my request
    To Agamemnon, Atreus' son, our Chief,
    That he would reinforce us from the camp.
      He spake, and at the word, Andræmon's son
    Thoas arose, who, casting off his cloak,
    Ran thence toward the ships, and folded warm                     610
    Within it, there lay I till dawn appear'd.
    Oh for the vigour of such youth again!
    Then, some good peasant here, either for love
    Or for respect, would cloak a man like me,
    Whom, now, thus sordid in attire ye scorn.
      To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.
    My ancient guest! I cannot but approve
    Thy narrative, nor hast thou utter'd aught
    Unseemly, or that needs excuse. No want
    Of raiment, therefore, or of aught beside                        620
    Needful to solace penury like thine,
    Shall harm thee here; yet, at the peep of dawn
    Gird thy own tatters to thy loins again;
    For _we_ have no great store of cloaks to boast,
    Or change of vests, but singly one for each.
    But when Ulysses' son shall once arrive,
    He will himself with vest and mantle both
    Cloath thee, and send thee whither most thou would'st.
      So saying, he rose, and nearer made his couch
    To the hearth-side, spreading it thick with skins                630
    Of sheep and goats; then lay the Hero down,
    O'er whom a shaggy mantle large he threw,
    Which oft-times served him with a change, when rough
    The winter's blast and terrible arose.
    So was Ulysses bedded, and the youths
    Slept all beside him; but the master-swain
    Chose not his place of rest so far remote
    From his rude charge, but to the outer court
    With his nocturnal furniture, repair'd,
    Gladd'ning Ulysses' heart that one so true                       640
    In his own absence kept his rural stores.
    Athwart his sturdy shoulders, first, he flung
    His faulchion keen, then wrapp'd him in a cloak
    Thick-woven, winter-proof; he lifted, next,
    The skin of a well-thriven goat, in bulk
    Surpassing others, and his javelin took
    Sharp-pointed, with which dogs he drove and men.
    Thus arm'd, he sought his wonted couch beneath
    A hollow rock where the herd slept, secure
    From the sharp current of the Northern blast.                    650


FOOTNOTES:

[61] Δῖος ὑφορβος.--The swineherd's was therefore in those days, and in
that country, an occupation honourable as well as useful. Barnes deems
the epithet δῖος significant of his noble birth. Vide Clarke in loco.

[62] It may be proper to suggest that Ulysses was lord of part of the
continent opposite to Ithaca--viz.--of the peninsula Nericus or Leuca,
which afterward became an island, and is now called Santa Maura. F.

[63] Mercury.

[64] Θεος--without a relative, and consequently signifying GOD in the
abstract, is not unfrequently found in Homer, though fearing to give
offence to serious minds unacquainted with the original, I have not
always given it that force in the translation. But here, the sentiment is
such as fixes the sense intended by the author with a precision that
leaves no option. It is observable too, that δυναται γαρ απαντα--is an
ascription of power such as the poet never makes to his Jupiter.




BOOK XV

ARGUMENT

Telemachus, admonished by Minerva, takes leave of Menelaus, but ere he
sails, is accosted by Theoclymenos, a prophet of Argos, whom at his
earnest request he takes on board. In the meantime Eumæus relates to
Ulysses the means by which he came to Ithaca. Telemachus arriving there,
gives orders for the return of his bark to the city, and repairs himself
to Eumæus.


    Meantime to Lacedæmon's spacious vale
    Minerva went, that she might summon thence
    Ulysses' glorious son to his own home.
    Arrived, she found Telemachus reposed
    And Nestor's son beneath the vestibule
    Of Menelaus, mighty Chief; she saw
    Pisistratus in bands of gentle sleep
    Fast-bound, but not Telemachus; his mind
    No rest enjoy'd, by filial cares disturb'd
    Amid the silent night, when, drawing near                         10
    To his couch side, the Goddess thus began.
      Thou canst no longer prudently remain
    A wand'rer here, Telemachus! thy home
    Abandon'd, and those haughty suitors left
    Within thy walls; fear lest, partition made
    Of thy possessions, they devour the whole,
    And in the end thy voyage bootless prove.
    Delay not; from brave Menelaus ask
    Dismission hence, that thou may'st find at home
    Thy spotless mother, whom her brethren urge                       20
    And her own father even now to wed
    Eurymachus, in gifts and in amount
    Of proffer'd dow'r superior to them all.
    Some treasure, else, shall haply from thy house
    Be taken, such as thou wilt grudge to spare.
    For well thou know'st how woman is disposed;
    Her whole anxiety is to encrease
    His substance whom she weds; no care hath she
    Of her first children, or remembers more
    The buried husband of her virgin choice.                          30
    Returning then, to her of all thy train
    Whom thou shalt most approve, the charge commit
    Of thy concerns domestic, till the Gods
    Themselves shall guide thee to a noble wife.
    Hear also this, and mark it. In the frith
    Samos the rude, and Ithaca between,
    The chief of all her suitors thy return
    In vigilant ambush wait, with strong desire
    To slay thee, ere thou reach thy native shore,
    But shall not, as I judge, till the earth hide                    40
    Many a lewd reveller at thy expence.
    Yet, steer thy galley from those isles afar,
    And voyage make by night; some guardian God
    Shall save thee, and shall send thee prosp'rous gales.
    Then, soon as thou attain'st the nearest shore
    Of Ithaca, dispatching to the town
    Thy bark with all thy people, seek at once
    The swine-herd; for Eumæus is thy friend.
    There sleep, and send him forth into the town
    With tidings to Penelope, that safe                               50
    Thou art restored from Pylus home again.
      She said, and sought th' Olympian heights sublime.
    Then, with his heel shaking him, he awoke
    The son of Nestor, whom he thus address'd.
      Rise, Nestor's son, Pisistratus! lead forth
    The steeds, and yoke them. We must now depart.
      To whom the son of Nestor thus replied.
    Telemachus! what haste soe'er we feel,
    We can by no means prudently attempt
    To drive by night, and soon it will be dawn.                      60
    Stay, therefore, till the Hero, Atreus' son,
    Spear-practis'd Menelaus shall his gifts
    Place in the chariot, and with kind farewell
    Dismiss thee; for the guest in mem'ry holds
    Through life, the host who treats him as a friend.
      Scarce had he spoken, when the golden dawn
    Appearing, Menelaus, from the side
    Of beauteous Helen ris'n, their bed approach'd,
    Whose coming when Telemachus perceived,
    Cloathing himself hastily in his vest                             70
    Magnificent, and o'er his shoulders broad
    Casting his graceful mantle, at the door
    He met the Hero, whom he thus address'd.
      Atrides, Menelaus, Chief renown'd!
    Dismiss me hence to Ithaca again,
    My native isle, for I desire to go.
      Him answer'd Menelaus famed in arms.
    Telemachus! I will not long delay
    Thy wish'd return. I disapprove alike
    The host whose assiduity extreme                                  80
    Distresses, and whose negligence offends;
    The middle course is best; alike we err,
    Him thrusting forth whose wish is to remain,
    And hind'ring the impatient to depart.
    This only is true kindness--To regale
    The present guest, and speed him when he would.
    Yet stay, till thou shalt see my splendid gifts
    Placed in thy chariot, and till I command
    My women from our present stores to spread
    The table with a plentiful repast.                                90
    For both the honour of the guest demands,
    And his convenience also, that he eat
    Sufficient, ent'ring on a length of road.
    But if through Hellas thou wilt take thy way
    And traverse Argos, I will, then, myself
    Attend thee; thou shalt journey with my steeds
    Beneath thy yoke, and I will be thy guide
    To many a city, whence we shall not go
    Ungratified, but shall in each receive
    Some gift at least, tripod, or charger bright,                   100
    Or golden chalice, or a pair of mules.
      To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.
    Atrides, Menelaus, Chief renown'd!
    I would at once depart, (for guardian none
    Of my possessions have I left behind)
    Lest, while I seek my father, I be lost
    Myself, or lose what I should grudge to spare.
      Which when the valiant Menelaus heard,
    He bade his spouse and maidens spread the board
    At once with remnants of the last regale.                        110
    Then Eteoneus came, Boetheus' son
    Newly aris'n, for nigh at hand he dwelt,
    Whom Menelaus bade kindle the fire
    By which to dress their food, and he obey'd.
    He next, himself his fragrant chamber sought,
    Not sole, but by his spouse and by his son
    Attended, Megapenthes. There arrived
    Where all his treasures lay, Atrides, first,
    Took forth, himself, a goblet, then consign'd
    To his son's hand an argent beaker bright.                       120
    Meantime, beside her coffers Helen stood
    Where lay her variegated robes, fair works
    Of her own hand. Producing one, in size
    And in magnificence the chief, a star
    For splendour, and the lowest placed of all,
    Loveliest of her sex, she bore it thence.
    Then, all proceeding through the house, they sought
    Telemachus again, whom reaching, thus
    The Hero of the golden locks began.
      May Jove the Thunderer, dread Juno's mate,                     130
    Grant thee, Telemachus! such voyage home
    As thy own heart desires! accept from all
    My stores selected as the richest far
    And noblest gift for finish'd beauty--This.
    I give thee wrought elaborate a cup,
    Itself all silver, bound with lip of gold.
    It is the work of Vulcan, which to me
    The Hero Phædimus imparted, King
    Of the Sidonians, when, on my return,
    Beneath his roof I lodg'd. I make it thine.                      140
      So saying, the Hero, Atreus' son, the cup
    Placed in his hands, and Megapenthes set
    Before him, next, the argent beaker bright;
    But lovely Helen drawing nigh, the robe
    Presented to him, whom she thus address'd.
      I also give thee, oh my son, a gift,
    Which seeing, thou shalt think on her whose hands
    Wrought it; a present on thy nuptial day
    For thy fair spouse; meantime, repose it safe
    In thy own mother's keeping. Now, farewell!                      150
    Prosp'rous and happy be thy voyage home!
      She ceas'd, and gave it to him, who the gift
    Accepted glad, and in the chariot-chest
    Pisistratus the Hero all disposed,
    Admiring them the while. They, following, next,
    The Hero Menelaus to his hall
    Each on his couch or on his throne reposed.
    A maiden, then, with golden ewer charged
    And silver bowl, pour'd water on their hands,
    And spread the polish'd table, which with food                   160
    Various, selected from her present stores,
    The mistress of the household charge supplied.
    Boetheus' son stood carver, and to each
    His portion gave, while Megapenthes, son
    Of glorious Menelaus, serv'd the cup.
    Then, all with outstretch'd hands the feast assail'd,
    And when nor hunger more nor thirst of wine
    They felt, Telemachus and Nestor's son
    Yoked the swift steeds, and, taking each his seat
    In the resplendent chariot, drove at once                        170
    Right through the sounding portico abroad.
    But Menelaus, Hero amber-hair'd,
    A golden cup bearing with richest wine
    Replete in his right hand, follow'd them forth,
    That not without libation first perform'd
    They might depart; he stood before the steeds,
    And drinking first, thus, courteous, them bespake.
      Health to you both, young friends! and from my lips
    Like greeting bear to Nestor, royal Chief,
    For he was ever as a father kind                                 180
    To me, while the Achaians warr'd at Troy.
      To whom Telemachus discrete replied.
    And doubtless, so we will; at our return
    We will report to him, illustrious Prince!
    Thy ev'ry word. And oh, I would to heav'n
    That reaching Ithaca, I might at home
    Ulysses hail as sure, as I shall hence
    Depart, with all benevolence by thee
    Treated, and rich in many a noble gift.
      While thus he spake, on his right hand appear'd                190
    An eagle; in his talons pounced he bore
    A white-plumed goose domestic, newly ta'en
    From the house-court. Ran females all and males
    Clamorous after him; but he the steeds
    Approaching on the right, sprang into air.
    That sight rejoicing and with hearts reviv'd
    They view'd, and thus Pisistratus his speech
    Amid them all to Menelaus turn'd.
      Now, Menelaus, think, illustrious Chief!
    If us, this omen, or thyself regard.                             200
      While warlike Menelaus musing stood
    What answer fit to frame, Helen meantime,
    His spouse long-stoled preventing him, began.
      Hear me; for I will answer as the Gods
    Teach me, and as I think shall come to pass.
    As he, descending from his place of birth
    The mountains, caught our pamper'd goose away,
    So shall Ulysses, after many woes
    And wand'rings to his home restored, avenge
    His wrongs, or even now is at his home                           210
    For all those suitors sowing seeds of woe.
      To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.
    Oh grant it Jove, Juno's high-thund'ring mate!
    So will I, there arrived, with vow and pray'r
    Thee worship, as thou wert, thyself, divine.
      He said, and lash'd the coursers; fiery they
    And fleet, sprang through the city to the plain.
    All day the yoke on either side they shook,
    Journeying swift; and now the setting sun
    To gloomy evening had resign'd the roads,                        220
    When they to Pheræ came, and in the house
    Of good Diocles slept, their lib'ral host,
    Whose sire Orsilochus from Alpheus sprang.
    But when Aurora, daughter of the Dawn,
    Look'd rosy from the East, yoking their steeds,
    They in the sumptuous chariot sat again.
    Forth through the vestibule they drove, and through
    The sounding portico, when Nestor's son
    Plied brisk the scourge, and willing flew the steeds.
    Thus whirl'd along, soon they approach'd the gates               230
    Of Pylus, when Telemachus, his speech
    Turning to his companion, thus began.
      How, son of Nestor! shall I win from thee
    Not promise only, but performance kind
    Of my request? we are not bound alone
    To friendship by the friendship of our sires,
    But by equality of years, and this
    Our journey shall unite us still the more.
    Bear me not, I intreat thee, noble friend!
    Beyond the ship, but drop me at her side,                        240
    Lest ancient Nestor, though against my will,
    Detain me in his palace through desire
    To feast me, for I dread the least delay.
      He spake; then mused Pisistratus how best
    He might effect the wishes of his friend,
    And thus at length resolved; turning his steeds
    With sudden deviation to the shore
    He sought the bark, and placing in the stern
    Both gold and raiment, the illustrious gifts
    Of Menelaus, thus, in accents wing'd                             250
    With ardour, urged Telemachus away.
      Dispatch, embark, summon thy crew on board,
    Ere my arrival notice give of thine
    To the old King; for vehement I know
    His temper, neither will he let thee hence,
    But, hasting hither, will himself enforce
    Thy longer stay, that thou may'st not depart
    Ungifted; nought will fire his anger more.
      So saying, he to the Pylian city urged
    His steeds bright-maned, and at the palace-gate                  260
    Arrived of Nestor speedily; meantime
    Telemachus exhorted thus his crew.
      My gallant friends! set all your tackle, climb
    The sable bark, for I would now return.
      He spake; they heard him gladly, and at once
    All fill'd the benches. While his voyage he
    Thus expedited, and beside the stern
    To Pallas sacrifice perform'd and pray'd,
    A stranger, born remote, who had escaped
    From Argos, fugitive for blood, a seer                           270
    And of Melampus' progeny, approach'd.
    Melampus, in old time, in Pylus dwelt,
    Mother of flocks, alike for wealth renown'd
    And the magnificence of his abode.
    He, flying from the far-famed Pylian King,
    The mighty Neleus[65], migrated at length
    Into another land, whose wealth, the while,
    Neleus by force possess'd a year complete.
    Meantime, Melampus in the house endured
    Of Phylacus imprisonment and woe,                                280
    And burn'd with wrath for Neleus' daughter sake
    By fell Erynnis kindled in his heart.
    But, 'scaping death, he drove the lowing beeves
    From Phylace to Pylus, well avenged
    His num'rous injuries at Neleus' hands
    Sustain'd, and gave into his brother's arms
    King Neleus' daughter fair, the promis'd bride.
    To Argos steed-renown'd he journey'd next,
    There destin'd to inhabit and to rule
    Multitudes of Achaians. In that land                             290
    He married, built a palace, and became
    Father of two brave sons, Antiphates
    And Mantius; to Antiphates was born
    The brave Oïcleus; from Oïcleus sprang
    Amphiaraüs, demagogue renown'd,
    Whom with all tenderness, and as a friend
    Alike the Thund'rer and Apollo prized;
    Yet reach'd he not the bounds of hoary age.
    But by his mercenary consort's arts[66]
    Persuaded, met his destiny at Thebes.                            300
    He 'gat Alcmæon and Amphilocus.
    Mantius was also father of two sons,
    Clytus and Polyphides. Clytus pass'd
    From earth to heav'n, and dwells among the Gods,
    Stol'n by Aurora for his beauty's sake.
    But (brave Amphiaraüs once deceased)
    Phœbus exalted Polyphides far
    Above all others in the prophet's part.
    He, anger'd by his father, roam'd away
    To Hyperesia, where he dwelt renown'd                            310
    Throughout all lands the oracle of all.
      His son, named Theoclymenus, was he
    Who now approach'd; he found Telemachus
    Libation off'ring in his bark, and pray'r,
    And in wing'd accents ardent him address'd.
      Ah, friend! since sacrificing in this place
    I find thee, by these sacred rites and those
    Whom thou ador'st, and by thy own dear life,
    And by the lives of these thy mariners
    I beg true answer; hide not what I ask.                          320
    Who art thou? whence? where born? and sprung from whom?
      To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.
    I will inform thee, stranger! and will solve
    Thy questions with much truth. I am by birth
    Ithacan, and Ulysses was my sire.
    But he hath perish'd by a woeful death,
    And I, believing it, with these have plow'd
    The ocean hither, int'rested to learn
    A father's fate long absent from his home.
      Then answer'd godlike Theoclymenus.                            330
    I also am a wand'rer, having slain
    A man of my own tribe; brethren and friends
    Num'rous had he in Argos steed-renown'd,
    And pow'rful are the Achaians dwelling there.
    From them, through terrour of impending death,
    I fly, a banish'd man henceforth for ever.
    Ah save a suppliant fugitive! lest death
    O'ertake me, for I doubt not their pursuit.
      Whom thus Telemachus answer'd discrete.
    I shall not, be assured, since thou desir'st                     340
    To join me, chace thee from my bark away.
    Follow me, therefore, and with us partake,
    In Ithaca, what best the land affords.
      So saying, he at the stranger's hand received
    His spear, which on the deck he lay'd, then climb'd
    Himself the bark, and, seated in the stern,
    At his own side placed Theoclymenus.
    They cast the hawsers loose; then with loud voice
    Telemachus exhorted all to hand
    The tackle, whom the sailors prompt obey'd.                      350
    The tall mast heaving, in its socket deep
    They lodg'd it, and its cordage braced secure,
    Then, straining at the halyards, hoised the sail.
    Fair wind, and blowing fresh through æther pure
    Minerva sent them, that the bark might run
    Her nimblest course through all the briny way.
    Now sank the sun, and dusky ev'ning dimm'd
    The waves, when, driven by propitious Jove,
    His bark stood right for Pheræ; thence she stretch'd
    To sacred Elis where the Epeans rule,                            360
    And through the sharp Echinades he next
    Steer'd her, uncertain whether fate ordain'd
    His life or death, surprizal or escape.
      Meantime Ulysses and the swine-herd ate
    Their cottage-mess, and the assistant swains
    Theirs also; and when hunger now and thirst
    Had ceased in all, Ulysses thus began,
    Proving the swine-herd, whether friendly still,
    And anxious for his good, he would intreat
    His stay, or thence hasten him to the town.                      370
      Eumæus, and all ye his servants, hear!
    It is my purpose, lest I wear thee out,
    Thee and thy friends, to seek at early dawn
    The city, there to beg--But give me first
    Needful instructions, and a trusty guide
    Who may conduct me thither; there my task
    Must be to roam the streets; some hand humane
    Perchance shall give me a small pittance there,
    A little bread, and a few drops to drink.
    Ulysses' palace I shall also seek,                               380
    And to discrete Penelope report
    My tidings; neither shall I fail to mix
    With those imperious suitors, who, themselves
    Full-fed, may spare perhaps some boon to me.
    Me shall they find, in whatsoe'er they wish
    Their ready servitor, for (understand
    And mark me well) the herald of the skies,
    Hermes, from whom all actions of mankind
    Their grace receive and polish, is my friend,
    So that in menial offices I fear                                 390
    No rival, whether I be called to heap
    The hearth with fuel, or dry wood to cleave,
    To roast, to carve, or to distribute wine,
    As oft the poor are wont who serve the great.
      To whom, Eumæus! at those words displeased,
    Thou didst reply. Gods! how could such a thought
    Possess thee, stranger? surely thy resolve
    Is altogether fixt to perish there,
    If thou indeed hast purposed with that throng
    To mix, whose riot and outrageous acts                           400
    Of violence echo through the vault of heav'n.
    None, such as thou, serve _them_; their servitors
    Are youths well-cloak'd, well-vested; sleek their heads,
    And smug their countenances; such alone
    Are their attendants, and the polish'd boards
    Groan overcharg'd with bread, with flesh, with wine.
    Rest here content; for neither me nor these
    Thou weariest aught, and when Ulysses' son
    Shall come, he will with vest and mantle fair
    Cloath thee, and send thee whither most thou would'st.           410
      To whom Ulysses, toil-inured.
    I wish thee, O Eumæus! dear to Jove
    As thou art dear to me, for this reprieve
    Vouchsafed me kind, from wand'ring and from woe!
    No worse condition is of mortal man
    Than his who wanders; for the poor man, driv'n
    By woe and by misfortune homeless forth,
    A thousand mis'ries, day by day, endures.
    Since thou detain'st me, then, and bidd'st me wait
    His coming, tell me if the father still                          420
    Of famed Ulysses live, whom, going hence,
    He left so nearly on the verge of life?
    And lives his mother? or have both deceased
    Already, and descended to the shades?
      To whom the master swine-herd thus replied.
    I will inform thee, and with strictest truth,
    Of all that thou hast ask'd. Laertes lives,
    But supplication off'ring to the Gods
    Ceaseless, to free him from a weary life,
    So deeply his long-absent son he mourns,                         430
    And the dear consort of his early youth,
    Whose death is his chief sorrow, and hath brought
    Old age on him, or ere its date arrived.
    She died of sorrow for her glorious son,
    And died deplorably;[67] may never friend
    Of mine, or benefactor die as she!
    While yet she liv'd, dejected as she was,
    I found it yet some solace to converse
    With her, who rear'd me in my childish days,
    Together with her lovely youngest-born                           440
    The Princess Ctimena; for side by side
    We grew, and I, scarce honour'd less than she.
    But soon as our delightful prime we both
    Attain'd, to Samos her they sent, a bride,
    And were requited with rich dow'r; but me
    Cloath'd handsomely with tunic and with vest,
    And with fair sandals furnish'd, to the field
    She order'd forth, yet loved me still the more.
    I miss her kindness now; but gracious heav'n
    Prospers the work on which I here attend;                        450
    Hence have I food, and hence I drink, and hence
    Refresh, sometimes, a worthy guest like thee.
    But kindness none experience I, or can,
    From fair Penelope (my mistress now)
    In word or action, so is the house curs'd
    With that lewd throng. Glad would the servants be
    Might they approach their mistress, and receive
    Advice from her; glad too to eat and drink,
    And somewhat bear each to his rural home,
    For perquisites are ev'ry servant's joy.                         460
      Then answer thus, Ulysses wise return'd.
    Alas! good swain, Eumæus, how remote
    From friends and country wast thou forced to roam
    Ev'n in thy infancy! But tell me true.
    The city where thy parents dwelt, did foes
    Pillage it? or did else some hostile band
    Surprizing thee alone, on herd or flock
    Attendant, bear thee with them o'er the Deep,
    And sell thee at this Hero's house, who pay'd
    Doubtless for _thee_ no sordid price or small?                   470
      To whom the master swine-herd in reply.
    Stranger! since thou art curious to be told
    My story, silent listen, and thy wine
    At leisure quaff. The nights are longest now,
    And such as time for sleep afford, and time
    For pleasant conf'rence; neither were it good
    That thou should'st to thy couch before thy hour,
    Since even sleep is hurtful, in excess.
    Whoever here is weary, and desires
    Early repose, let him depart to rest,                            480
    And, at the peep of day, when he hath fed
    Sufficiently, drive forth my master's herd;
    But we with wine and a well-furnish'd board
    Supplied, will solace mutually derive
    From recollection of our sufferings past;
    For who hath much endured, and wander'd far,
    Finds the recital ev'n of sorrow sweet.
    Now hear thy question satisfied; attend!
    There is an island (thou hast heard, perchance,
    Of such an isle) named Syria;[68] it is placed                   490
    Above Ortigia, and a dial owns[69]
    True to the tropic changes of the year.
    No great extent she boasts, yet is she rich
    In cattle and in flocks, in wheat and wine.
    No famine knows that people, or disease
    Noisome, of all that elsewhere seize the race
    Of miserable man; but when old age
    Steals on the citizens, Apollo, arm'd
    With silver bow and bright Diana come,
    Whose gentle shafts dismiss them soon to rest.                   500
    Two cities share between them all the isle,
    And both were subject to my father's sway
    Ctesius Ormenides, a godlike Chief.
    It chanced that from Phœnicia, famed for skill
    In arts marine, a vessel thither came
    By sharpers mann'd, and laden deep with toys.
    Now, in my father's family abode
    A fair Phœnician, tall, full-sized, and skill'd
    In works of elegance, whom they beguiled.
    While she wash'd linen on the beach, beside                      510
    The ship, a certain mariner of those
    Seduced her; for all women, ev'n the wise
    And sober, feeble prove by love assail'd.
    Who was she, he enquired, and whence? nor she
    Scrupled to tell at once her father's home.
      I am of Sidon,[70] famous for her works
    In brass and steel; daughter of Arybas,
    Who rolls in affluence; Taphian pirates thence
    Stole me returning from the field, from whom
    This Chief procured me at no little cost.                        520
      Then answer thus her paramour return'd.
    Wilt thou not hence to Sidon in our ship,
    That thou may'st once more visit the abode
    Of thy own wealthy parents, and themselves?
    For still they live, and still are wealthy deem'd.
      To whom the woman. Even that might be,
    Would ye, ye seamen, by a solemn oath
    Assure me of a safe conveyance home.
      Then sware the mariners as she required,
    And, when their oath was ended, thus again                       530
    The woman of Phœnicia them bespake.
      Now, silence! no man, henceforth, of you all
    Accost me, though he meet me on the road,
    Or at yon fountain; lest some tattler run
    With tidings home to my old master's ear,
    Who, with suspicion touch'd, may _me_ confine
    In cruel bonds, and death contrive for _you_.
    But be ye close; purchase your stores in haste;
    And when your vessel shall be freighted full,
    Quick send me notice, for I mean to bring                        540
    What gold soever opportune I find,
    And will my passage cheerfully defray
    With still another moveable. I nurse
    The good man's son, an urchin shrewd, of age
    To scamper at my side; him will I bring,
    Whom at some foreign market ye shall prove
    Saleable at what price soe'er ye will.
      So saying, she to my father's house return'd.
    They, there abiding the whole year, their ship
    With purchased goods freighted of ev'ry kind,                    550
    And when, her lading now complete, she lay
    For sea prepared, their messenger arrived
    To summon down the woman to the shore.
    A mariner of theirs, subtle and shrewd,
    Then, ent'ring at my father's gate, produced
    A splendid collar, gold with amber strung.
    My mother (then at home) with all her maids
    Handling and gazing on it with delight,
    Proposed to purchase it, and he the nod
    Significant, gave unobserv'd, the while,                         560
    To the Phœnician woman, and return'd.
    She, thus informed, leading me by the hand
    Went forth, and finding in the vestibule
    The cups and tables which my father's guests
    Had used, (but they were to the forum gone
    For converse with their friends assembled there)
    Convey'd three cups into her bosom-folds,
    And bore them off, whom I a thoughtless child
    Accompanied, at the decline of day,
    When dusky evening had embrown'd the shore.                      570
    We, stepping nimbly on, soon reach'd the port
    Renown'd, where that Phœnician vessel lay.
    They shipp'd us both, and all embarking cleav'd
    Their liquid road, by favourable gales,
    Jove's gift, impell'd. Six days we day and night
    Continual sailed, but when Saturnian Jove
    Now bade the sev'nth bright morn illume the skies,
    Then, shaft-arm'd Dian struck the woman dead.
    At once she pitch'd headlong into the bilge
    Like a sea-coot, whence heaving her again,                       580
    The seamen gave her to be fishes' food,
    And I survived to mourn her. But the winds
    And rolling billows them bore to the coast
    Of Ithaca, where with his proper goods
    Laertes bought me. By such means it chanced
    That e'er I saw the isle in which I dwell.
      To whom Ulysses, glorious Chief, replied.
    Eumæus! thou hast moved me much, thy woes
    Enumerating thus at large. But Jove
    Hath neighbour'd all thy evil with this good,                    590
    That after num'rous sorrows thou hast reach'd
    The house of a kind master, at whose hands
    Thy sustenance is sure, and here thou lead'st
    A tranquil life; but I have late arrived,
    City after city of the world explored.
      Thus mutual they conferr'd, nor leisure found
    Save for short sleep, by morning soon surprized.
    Meantime the comrades of Telemachus
    Approaching land, cast loose the sail, and lower'd
    Alert the mast, then oar'd the vessel in.                        600
    The anchors heav'd aground,[71] and hawsers tied
    Secure, themselves, forth-issuing on the shore,
    Breakfast prepared, and charged their cups with wine.
    When neither hunger now, nor thirst remained
    Unsatisfied, Telemachus began.
      Push ye the sable bark without delay
    Home to the city. I will to the field
    Among my shepherds, and, (my rural works
    Survey'd,) at eve will to the town return.
    To-morrow will I set before you wine                             610
    And plenteous viands, wages of your toil.
      To whom the godlike Theoclymenus.
    Whither must I, my son? who, of the Chiefs
    Of rugged Ithaca, shall harbour me?
    Shall I to thine and to thy mother's house?
      Then thus Telemachus, discrete, replied.
    I would invite thee to proceed at once
    To our abode, since nought should fail thee there
    Of kind reception, but it were a course
    Now not adviseable; for I must myself,                           620
    Be absent, neither would my mother's eyes
    Behold thee, so unfrequent she appears
    Before the suitors, shunning whom, she sits
    Weaving continual at the palace-top.
    But I will name to thee another Chief
    Whom thou may'st seek, Eurymachus, the son
    Renown'd of prudent Polybus, whom all
    The people here reverence as a God.
    Far noblest of them all is he, and seeks
    More ardent than his rivals far, to wed                          630
    My mother, and to fill my father's throne.
    But, He who dwells above, Jove only knows
    If some disastrous day be not ordain'd
    For them, or ere those nuptials shall arrive.
      While thus he spake, at his right hand appear'd,
    Messenger of Apollo, on full wing,
    A falcon; in his pounces clench'd he bore
    A dove, which rending, down he pour'd her plumes
    Between the galley and Telemachus.
    Then, calling him apart, the prophet lock'd                      640
    His hand in his, and thus explain'd the sign.
      Not undirected by the Gods his flight
    On our right hand, Telemachus! this hawk
    Hath wing'd propitious; soon as I perceived
    I knew him ominous--In all the isle
    No family of a more royal note
    Than yours is found, and yours shall still prevail.
      Whom thus Telemachus answer'd discrete.
    Grant heav'n, my guest! that this good word of thine
    Fail not, and soon thou shalt such bounty share                  650
    And friendship at my hands, that, at first sight,
    Whoe'er shall meet thee shall pronounce thee blest.
      Then, to Piræus thus, his friend approved.
    Piræus, son of Clytius! (for of all
    My followers to the shore of Pylus, none
    More prompt than thou hath my desires perform'd)
    Now also to thy own abode conduct
    This stranger, whom with hospitable care
    Cherish and honour till myself arrive.
      To whom Piræus answer'd, spear-renown'd.                       660
    Telemachus! however long thy stay,
    Punctual I will attend him, and no want
    Of hospitality shall he find with me.
      So saying, he climb'd the ship, then bade the crew
    Embarking also, cast the hawsers loose,
    And each, obedient, to his bench repair'd.
    Meantime Telemachus his sandals bound,
    And lifted from the deck his glitt'ring spear.
    Then, as Telemachus had bidden them,
    Son of divine Ulysses, casting loose                             670
    The hawsers, forth they push'd into the Deep
    And sought the city, while with nimble pace
    Proceeding thence, Telemachus attain'd
    The cottage soon where good Eumæus slept,
    The swine-herd, faithful to his num'rous charge.


FOOTNOTES:

[65] Iphyclus the son of Phylacus had seized and detained cattle
belonging to Neleus; Neleus ordered his nephew Melampus to recover them,
and as security for his obedience seized on a considerable part of his
possessions. Melampus attempted the service, failed, and was cast into
prison; but at length escaping, accomplished his errand, vanquished
Neleus in battle, and carried off his daughter Pero, whom Neleus had
promised to the brother of Melampus, but had afterward refused her.

[66] His wife Eryphyle, bribed by Polynices, persuaded him, though aware
that death awaited him at that city, to go to Thebes, where he fell
accordingly.

[67] She is said to have hanged herself.

[68] Not improbably the isthmus of Syracuse, an island, perhaps, or
peninsula at that period, or at least imagined to be such by Homer. The
birth of Diana gave fame to Ortygia. F.

[69] Ὅθι τροπαὶ ἠελίοιο--The Translator has rendered the passage
according to that interpretation of it to which several of the best
expositors incline. Nothing can be so absurd as to suppose that Homer, so
correct in his geography, could mean to place a Mediterranean island
under the Tropic.

[70] A principal city of Phœnicia.

[71] The anchors were lodged on the shore, not plunged as ours.




BOOK XVI

ARGUMENT

Telemachus dispatches Eumæus to the city to inform Penelope of his safe
return from Pylus; during his absence, Ulysses makes himself known to his
son. The suitors, having watched for Telemachus in vain, arrive again at
Ithaca.


    It was the hour of dawn, when in the cot
    Kindling fresh fire, Ulysses and his friend
    Noble Eumæus dress'd their morning fare,
    And sent the herdsmen with the swine abroad.
    Seeing Telemachus, the watchful dogs
    Bark'd not, but fawn'd around him. At that sight,
    And at the sound of feet which now approach'd,
    Ulysses in wing'd accents thus remark'd.
      Eumæus! certain, either friend of thine
    Is nigh at hand, or one whom well thou know'st;                   10
    Thy dogs bark not, but fawn on his approach
    Obsequious, and the sound of feet I hear.
      Scarce had he ceased, when his own son himself
    Stood in the vestibule. Upsprang at once
    Eumæus wonder-struck, and from his hand
    Let fall the cups with which he was employ'd
    Mingling rich wine; to his young Lord he ran,
    His forehead kiss'd, kiss'd his bright-beaming eyes
    And both his hands, weeping profuse the while,
    As when a father folds in his embrace                             20
    Arrived from foreign lands in the tenth year
    His darling son, the offspring of his age,
    His only one, for whom he long hath mourn'd,
    So kiss'd the noble peasant o'er and o'er
    Godlike Telemachus, as from death escaped,
    And in wing'd accents plaintive thus began.
      Light of my eyes, thou com'st; it is thyself,
    Sweetest Telemachus! I had no hope
    To see thee more, once told that o'er the Deep
    Thou hadst departed for the Pylian coast.                         30
    Enter, my precious son; that I may sooth
    My soul with sight of thee from far arrived,
    For seldom thou thy feeders and thy farm
    Visitest, in the city custom'd much
    To make abode, that thou may'st witness there
    The manners of those hungry suitors proud.
      To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.
    It will be so. There is great need, my friend!
    But here, for thy sake, have I now arrived,
    That I may look on thee, and from thy lips                        40
    Learn if my mother still reside at home,
    Or have become spouse of some other Chief,
    Leaving untenanted Ulysses' bed
    To be by noisome spiders webb'd around.
      To whom the master swine-herd in return.
    Not so, she, patient still as ever, dwells
    Beneath thy roof, but all her cheerless days
    Despairing wastes, and all her nights in tears.
      So saying, Eumæus at his hand received
    His brazen lance, and o'er the step of stone                      50
    Enter'd Telemachus, to whom his sire
    Relinquish'd, soon as he appear'd, his seat,
    But him Telemachus forbidding, said--
      Guest, keep thy seat; our cottage will afford
    Some other, which Eumæus will provide.
      He ceased, and he, returning at the word,
    Reposed again; then good Eumæus spread
    Green twigs beneath, which, cover'd with a fleece,
    Supplied Ulysses' offspring with a seat.
    He, next, disposed his dishes on the board                        60
    With relicts charged of yesterday; with bread,
    Alert, he heap'd the baskets; with rich wine
    His ivy cup replenish'd; and a seat
    Took opposite to his illustrious Lord
    Ulysses. They toward the plenteous feast
    Stretch'd forth their hands, (and hunger now and thirst
    Both satisfied) Telemachus, his speech
    Addressing to their gen'rous host, began.
      Whence is this guest, my father? How convey'd
    Came he to Ithaca? What country boast                             70
    The mariners with whom he here arrived?
    For, that on foot he found us not, is sure.
      To whom Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.
    I will with truth answer thee, O my son!
    He boasts him sprung from ancestry renown'd
    In spacious Crete, and hath the cities seen
    Of various lands, by fate ordain'd to roam.
    Ev'n now, from a Thesprotian ship escaped,
    He reach'd my cottage--but he is thy own;
    I yield him to thee; treat him as thou wilt;                      80
    He is thy suppliant, and depends on thee.
      Then thus, Telemachus, discrete, replied.
    Thy words, Eumæus, pain my very soul.
    For what security can I afford
    To any in my house? myself am young,
    Nor yet of strength sufficient to repel
    An offer'd insult, and my mother's mind
    In doubtful balance hangs, if, still with me
    An inmate, she shall manage my concerns,
    Attentive only to her absent Lord                                 90
    And her own good report, or shall espouse
    The noblest of her wooers, and the best
    Entitled by the splendour of his gifts.
    But I will give him, since I find him lodg'd
    A guest beneath thy roof, tunic and cloak,
    Sword double-edged, and sandals for his feet,
    With convoy to the country of his choice.
    Still, if it please thee, keep him here thy guest,
    And I will send him raiment, with supplies
    Of all sorts, lest he burthen thee and thine.                    100
    But where the suitors come, there shall not he
    With my consent, nor stand exposed to pride
    And petulance like theirs, lest by some sneer
    They wound him, and through him, wound also me;
    For little is it that the boldest can
    Against so many; numbers will prevail.
      Him answer'd then Ulysses toil-inured.
    Oh amiable and good! since even I
    Am free to answer thee, I will avow
    My heart within me torn by what I hear                           110
    Of those injurious suitors, who the house
    Infest of one noble as thou appear'st.
    But say--submittest thou to their controul
    Willingly, or because the people, sway'd
    By some response oracular, incline
    Against thee? Thou hast brothers, it may chance,
    Slow to assist thee--for a brother's aid
    Is of importance in whatever cause.
    For oh that I had youth as I have will,
    Or that renown'd Ulysses were my sire,                           120
    Or that himself might wander home again.
    Whereof hope yet remains! then might I lose
    My head, that moment, by an alien's hand,
    If I would fail, ent'ring Ulysses' gate,
    To be the bane and mischief of them all.
    But if alone to multitudes opposed
    I should perchance be foiled; nobler it were
    With my own people, under my own roof
    To perish, than to witness evermore
    Their unexampled deeds, guests shoved aside,                     130
    Maidens dragg'd forcibly from room to room,
    Casks emptied of their rich contents, and them
    Indulging glutt'nous appetite day by day
    Enormous, without measure, without end.
      To whom, Telemachus, discrete, replied.
    Stranger! thy questions shall from me receive
    True answer. Enmity or hatred none
    Subsists the people and myself between,
    Nor have I brothers to accuse, whose aid
    Is of importance in whatever cause,                              140
    For Jove hath from of old with single heirs
    Our house supplied; Arcesias none begat
    Except Laertes, and Laertes none
    Except Ulysses, and Ulysses me
    Left here his only one, and unenjoy'd.
    Thence comes it that our palace swarms with foes;
    For all the rulers of the neighbour isles,
    Samos, Dulichium, and the forest-crown'd
    Zacynthus, others also rulers here
    In craggy Ithaca, my mother seek                                 150
    In marriage, and my household stores consume.
    But neither she those nuptial rites abhorr'd
    Refuses absolute, nor yet consents
    To end them; they my patrimony waste
    Meantime, and will destroy me also soon,
    As I expect, but heav'n disposes all.
      Eumæus! haste, my father! bear with speed
    News to Penelope that I am safe,
    And have arrived from Pylus; I will wait
    Till thou return; and well beware that none
    Hear thee beside, for I have many foes.
      To whom Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.
    It is enough. I understand. Thou speak'st
    To one intelligent. But say beside,
    Shall I not also, as I go, inform
    Distress'd Laertes? who while yet he mourn'd
    Ulysses only, could o'ersee the works,
    And dieted among his menials oft
    As hunger prompted him, but now, they say,
    Since thy departure to the Pylian shore,                         170
    He neither eats as he was wont, nor drinks,
    Nor oversees his hinds, but sighing sits
    And weeping, wasted even to the bone.
      Him then Telemachus answer'd discrete.
    Hard though it be, yet to his tears and sighs
    Him leave we now. We cannot what we would.
    For, were the ordering of all events
    Referr'd to our own choice, our first desire
    Should be to see my father's glad return.
    But once thy tidings told, wander not thou                       180
    In quest of Him, but hither speed again.
    Rather request my mother that she send
    Her household's governess without delay
    Privately to him; she shall best inform
    The ancient King that I have safe arrived.
      He said, and urged him forth, who binding on
    His sandals, to the city bent his way.
    Nor went Eumæus from his home unmark'd
    By Pallas, who in semblance of a fair
    Damsel, accomplish'd in domestic arts,                           190
    Approaching to the cottage' entrance, stood
    Opposite, by Ulysses plain discern'd,
    But to his son invisible; for the Gods
    Appear not manifest alike to all.
    The mastiffs saw her also, and with tone
    Querulous hid themselves, yet bark'd they not.
    She beckon'd him abroad. Ulysses saw
    The sign, and, issuing through the outer court,
    Approach'd her, whom the Goddess thus bespake.
      Laertes' progeny, for wiles renown'd!                          200
    Disclose thyself to thy own son, that, death
    Concerting and destruction to your foes,
    Ye may the royal city seek, nor long
    Shall ye my presence there desire in vain,
    For I am ardent to begin the fight.
      Minerva spake, and with her rod of gold
    Touch'd him; his mantle, first, and vest she made
    Pure as new-blanch'd; dilating, next, his form,
    She gave dimensions ampler to his limbs;
    Swarthy again his manly hue became,                              210
    Round his full face, and black his bushy chin.
    The change perform'd, Minerva disappear'd,
    And the illustrious Hero turn'd again
    Into the cottage; wonder at that sight
    Seiz'd on Telemachus; askance he look'd,
    Awe-struck, not unsuspicious of a God,
    And in wing'd accents eager thus began.
      Thou art no longer, whom I lately saw,
    Nor are thy cloaths, nor is thy port the same.
    Thou art a God, I know, and dwell'st in heav'n.                  220
    Oh, smile on us, that we may yield thee rites
    Acceptable, and present thee golden gifts
    Elaborate; ah spare us, Pow'r divine!
      To whom Ulysses, Hero toil-inured.
    I am no God. Why deem'st thou me divine?
    I am thy father, for whose sake thou lead'st
    A life of woe, by violence oppress'd.
      So saying, he kiss'd his son, while from his cheeks
    Tears trickled, tears till then, perforce restrained.
    Telemachus, (for he believed him not                             230
    His father yet) thus, wond'ring, spake again.
      My father, said'st thou? no. Thou art not He,
    But some Divinity beguiles my soul
    With mock'ries to afflict me still the more;
    For never mortal man could so have wrought
    By his own pow'r; some interposing God
    Alone could render thee both young and old,
    For old thou wast of late, and foully clad,
    But wear'st the semblance, now, of those in heav'n!
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.                           240
    Telemachus! it is not well, my son!
    That thou should'st greet thy father with a face
    Of wild astonishment, and stand aghast.
    Ulysses, save myself, none comes, be sure.
    Such as thou seest, after ten thousand woes
    Which I have borne, I visit once again
    My native country in the twentieth year.
    This wonder Athenæan Pallas wrought,
    She cloath'd me even with what form she would,
    For so she can. Now poor I seem and old,                         250
    Now young again, and clad in fresh attire.
    The Gods who dwell in yonder heav'n, with ease
    Dignify or debase a mortal man.
      So saying, he sat. Then threw Telemachus
    His arms around his father's neck, and wept.
    Desire intense of lamentation seized
    On both; soft murmurs utt'ring, each indulged
    His grief, more frequent wailing than the bird,
    (Eagle, or hook-nail'd vulture) from whose nest
    Some swain hath stol'n her yet unfeather'd young.                260
    So from their eyelids they big drops distill'd
    Of tend'rest grief, nor had the setting sun
    Cessation of their weeping seen, had not
    Telemachus his father thus address'd.
      What ship convey'd thee to thy native shore,
    My father! and what country boast the crew?
    For, that on foot thou not arriv'dst, is sure.
      Then thus divine Ulysses toil-inured.
    My son! I will explicit all relate.
    Conducted by Phæacia's maritime sons                             270
    I came, a race accustom'd to convey
    Strangers who visit them across the Deep.
    Me, o'er the billows in a rapid bark
    Borne sleeping, on the shores of Ithaca
    They lay'd; rich gifts they gave me also, brass,
    Gold in full bags, and beautiful attire,
    Which, warn'd from heav'n, I have in caves conceal'd.
    By Pallas prompted, hither I repair'd
    That we might plan the slaughter of our foes,
    Whose numbers tell me now, that I may know                       280
    How pow'rful, certainly, and who they are,
    And consultation with my dauntless heart
    May hold, if we be able to contend
    Ourselves with all, or must have aid beside.
      Then, answer thus his son, discrete, return'd.
    My father! thy renown hath ever rung
    In thy son's ears, and by report thy force
    In arms, and wisdom I have oft been told.
    But terribly thou speak'st; amazement-fixt
    I hear; can two a multitude oppose,                              290
    And valiant warriors all? for neither ten
    Are they, nor twenty, but more num'rous far.
    Learn, now, their numbers. Fifty youths and two
    Came from Dulichium; they are chosen men,
    And six attendants follow in their train;
    From Samos twenty youths and four arrive,
    Zacynthus also of Achaia's sons
    Sends twenty more, and our own island adds,
    Herself, her twelve chief rulers; Medon, too,
    Is there the herald, and the bard divine,                        300
    With other two, intendants of the board.
    Should we within the palace, we alone,
    Assail them all, I fear lest thy revenge
    Unpleasant to thyself and deadly prove,
    Frustrating thy return. But recollect--
    Think, if thou canst, on whose confed'rate arm
    Strenuous on our behalf we may rely.
      To him replied his patient father bold.
    I will inform thee. Mark. Weigh well my words.
    Will Pallas and the everlasting Sire                             310
    Alone suffice? or need we other aids?
      Then answer thus Telemachus return'd.
    Good friends indeed are they whom thou hast named,
    Though throned above the clouds; for their controul
    Is universal both in earth and heav'n.
      To whom Ulysses, toil-worn Chief renown'd.
    Not long will they from battle stand aloof,
    When once, within my palace, in the strength
    Of Mars, to sharp decision we shall urge
    The suitors. But thyself at early dawn                           320
    Our mansion seek, that thou may'st mingle there
    With that imperious throng; me in due time
    Eumæus to the city shall conduct,
    In form a miserable beggar old.
    But should they with dishonourable scorn
    Insult me, thou unmov'd my wrongs endure,
    And should they even drag me by the feet
    Abroad, or smite me with the spear, thy wrath
    Refraining, gently counsel them to cease
    From such extravagance; but well I know                          330
    That cease they will not, for their hour is come.
    And mark me well; treasure what now I say
    Deep in thy soul. When Pallas shall, herself,
    Suggest the measure, then, shaking my brows,
    I will admonish thee; thou, at the sign,
    Remove what arms soever in the hall
    Remain, and in the upper palace safe
    Dispose them; should the suitors, missing them,
    Perchance interrogate thee, then reply
    Gently--I have removed them from the smoke;                      340
    For they appear no more the arms which erst
    Ulysses, going hence to Ilium, left,
    But smirch'd and sullied by the breath of fire.
    This weightier reason (thou shalt also say)
    Jove taught me; lest, intoxicate with wine,
    Ye should assault each other in your brawls,
    Shaming both feast and courtship; for the view
    Itself of arms incites to their abuse.
    Yet leave two faulchions for ourselves alone,
    Two spears, two bucklers, which with sudden force                350
    Impetuous we will seize, and Jove all-wise
    Their valour shall, and Pallas, steal away.
    This word store also in remembrance deep--
    If mine in truth thou art, and of my blood,
    Then, of Ulysses to his home returned
    Let none hear news from thee, no, not my sire
    Laertes, nor Eumæus, nor of all
    The menials any, or ev'n Penelope,
    That thou and I, alone, may search the drift
    Of our domestic women, and may prove                             360
    Our serving-men, who honours and reveres
    And who contemns us both, but chiefly thee
    So gracious and so worthy to be loved.
      Him then thus answer'd his illustrious son.
    Trust me, my father! thou shalt soon be taught
    That I am not of drowsy mind obtuse.
    But this I think not likely to avail
    Or thee or me; ponder it yet again;
    For tedious were the task, farm after farm
    To visit of those servants, proving each,                        370
    And the proud suitors merciless devour
    Meantime thy substance, nor abstain from aught.
    Learn, if thou wilt, (and I that course myself
    Advise) who slights thee of the female train,
    And who is guiltless; but I would not try
    From house to house the men, far better proved
    Hereafter, if in truth by signs from heav'n
    Inform'd, thou hast been taught the will of Jove.
      Thus they conferr'd. The gallant bark, meantime,
    Reach'd Ithaca, which from the Pylian shore                      380
    Had brought Telemachus with all his band.
    Within the many-fathom'd port arrived
    His lusty followers haled her far aground,
    Then carried thence their arms, but to the house
    Of Clytius the illustrious gifts convey'd.
    Next to the royal mansion they dispatch'd
    An herald charg'd with tidings to the Queen,
    That her Telemachus had reach'd the cot
    Of good Eumæus, and the bark had sent
    Home to the city; lest the matchless dame                        390
    Should still deplore the absence of her son.
    They, then, the herald and the swine-herd, each
    Bearing like message to his mistress, met,
    And at the palace of the godlike Chief
    Arriving, compass'd by the female throng
    Inquisitive, the herald thus began.
      Thy son, O Queen! is safe; ev'n now return'd.
    Then, drawing nigh to her, Eumæus told
    His message also from her son received,
    And, his commission punctually discharged,                       400
    Leaving the palace, sought his home again.
      Grief seized and anguish, at those tidings, all
    The suitors; issuing forth, on the outside
    Of the high wall they sat, before the gate,
    When Polybus' son, Eurymachus, began.
      My friends! his arduous task, this voyage, deem'd
    By us impossible, in our despight
    Telemachus hath atchieved. Haste! launch we forth
    A sable bark, our best, which let us man
    With mariners expert, who, rowing forth                          410
    Swiftly, shall summon our companions home.
      Scarce had he said, when turning where he sat,
    Amphinomus beheld a bark arrived
    Just then in port; he saw them furling sail,
    And seated with their oars in hand; he laugh'd
    Through pleasure at that sight, and thus he spake.
      Our message may be spared. Lo! they arrive.
    Either some God inform'd them, or they saw,
    Themselves, the vessel of Telemachus
    Too swiftly passing to be reach'd by theirs.                     420
      He spake; they, rising, hasted to the shore.
    Alert they drew the sable bark aground,
    And by his servant each his arms dispatch'd
    To his own home. Then, all, to council those
    Assembling, neither elder of the land
    Nor youth allow'd to join them, and the rest
    Eupithes' son, Antinoüs, thus bespake.
      Ah! how the Gods have rescued him! all day
    Perch'd on the airy mountain-top, our spies
    Successive watch'd; and, when the sun declined,                  430
    We never slept on shore, but all night long
    Till sacred dawn arose, plow'd the abyss,
    Hoping Telemachus, that we might seize
    And slay him, whom some Deity hath led,
    In our despight, safe to his home again.
    But frame we yet again means to destroy
    Telemachus; ah--let not Him escape!
    For end of this our task, while he survives,
    None shall be found, such prudence he displays
    And wisdom, neither are the people now                           440
    Unanimous our friends as heretofore.
    Come, then--prevent him, ere he call the Greeks
    To council; for he will not long delay,
    But will be angry, doubtless, and will tell
    Amid them all, how we in vain devised
    His death, a deed which they will scarce applaud,
    But will, perhaps, punish and drive us forth
    From our own country to a distant land.--
    Prevent him, therefore, quickly; in the field
    Slay him, or on the road; so shall his wealth                    450
    And his possessions on ourselves devolve
    Which we will share equally, but his house
    Shall be the Queen's, and his whom she shall wed.
    Yet, if not so inclined, ye rather chuse
    That he should live and occupy entire
    His patrimony, then, no longer, here
    Assembled, let us revel at his cost,
    But let us all with spousal gifts produced
    From our respective treasures, woo the Queen,
    Leaving her in full freedom to espouse                           460
    Who proffers most, and whom the fates ordain.
      He ceased; the assembly silent sat and mute.
    Then rose Amphinomus amid them all,
    Offspring renown'd of Nisus, son, himself,
    Of King Aretias. He had thither led
    The suitor train who from the pleasant isle
    Corn-clad of green Dulichium had arrived,
    And by his speech pleased far beyond them all
    Penelope, for he was just and wise,
    And thus, well-counselling the rest, began.                      470
      Not I, my friends! far be the thought from me
    To slay Telemachus! it were a deed
    Momentous, terrible, to slay a prince.
    First, therefore, let us counsel ask of heav'n,
    And if Jove's oracle that course approve,
    I will encourage you, and will myself
    Be active in his death; but if the Gods
    Forbid it, then, by my advice, forbear.
      So spake Amphinomus, whom all approved.
    Arising then, into Ulysses' house                                480
    They went, where each his splendid seat resumed.
      A novel purpose occupied, meantime,
    Penelope; she purposed to appear
    Before her suitors, whose design to slay
    Telemachus she had from Medon learn'd,
    The herald, for his ear had caught the sound.
    Toward the hall with her attendant train
    She moved, and when, most graceful of her sex,
    Where sat the suitors she arrived, between
    The columns standing of the stately dome,                        490
    And covering with her white veil's lucid folds
    Her features, to Antinoüs thus she spake.
      Antinoüs, proud, contentious, evermore
    To mischief prone! the people deem thee wise
    Past thy compeers, and in all grace of speech
    Pre-eminent, but such wast never thou.
    Inhuman! why is it thy dark design
    To slay Telemachus? and why with scorn
    Rejectest thou the suppliant's pray'r,[72] which Jove
    Himself hath witness'd? Plots please not the Gods.               500
    Know'st not that thy own father refuge found
    Here, when he fled before the people's wrath
    Whom he had irritated by a wrong
    Which, with a band of Taphian robbers joined,
    He offer'd to the Thesprots, our allies?
    They would have torn his heart, and would have laid
    All his delights and his possessions waste,
    But my Ulysses slaked the furious heat
    Of their revenge, whom thou requitest now
    Wasting his goods, soliciting his wife,                          510
    Slaying his son, and filling me with woe.
    But cease, I charge thee, and bid cease the rest.
      To whom the son of Polybus replied,
    Eurymachus.--Icarius' daughter wise!
    Take courage, fair Penelope, and chace
    These fears unreasonable from thy mind!
    The man lives not, nor shall, who while I live,
    And faculty of sight retain, shall harm
    Telemachus, thy son. For thus I say,
    And thus will I perform; his blood shall stream                  520
    A sable current from my lance's point
    That moment; for the city-waster Chief
    Ulysses, oft, me placing on his knees,
    Hath fill'd my infant grasp with sav'ry food,
    And giv'n me ruddy wine. I, therefore, hold
    Telemachus of all men most my friend,
    Nor hath he death to fear from hand of ours.
    Yet, if the Gods shall doom him, die he must.
      So he encouraged her, who yet, himself,
    Plotted his death. She, re-ascending, sought                     530
    Her stately chamber, and, arriving there,
    Deplored with tears her long-regretted Lord
    Till Athenæan Pallas azure-eyed
    Dews of soft slumber o'er her lids diffused.
      And now, at even-tide, Eumæus reach'd
    Ulysses and his son. A yearling swine
    Just slain they skilfully for food prepared,
    When Pallas, drawing nigh, smote with her wand
    Ulysses, at the stroke rend'ring him old,
    And his apparel sordid as before,                                540
    Lest, knowing him, the swain at once should seek
    Penelope, and let the secret forth.
      Then foremost him Telemachus address'd.
    Noble Eumæus! thou art come; what news
    Bring'st from the city? Have the warrior band
    Of suitors, hopeless of their ambush, reach'd
    The port again, or wait they still for me?
      To whom Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.
    No time for such enquiry, nor to range,
    Curious, the streets had I, but anxious wish'd                   550
    To make my message known, and to return.
    But, as it chanced, a nimble herald sent
    From thy companions, met me on the way,
    Who reach'd thy mother first. Yet this I know,
    For this I saw. Passing above the town
    Where they have piled a way-side hill of stones
    To Mercury, I beheld a gallant bark
    Ent'ring the port; a bark she was of ours,
    The crew were num'rous, and I mark'd her deep-
    Laden with shields and spears of double edge.                    560
    Theirs I conjectured her, and could no more.
      He spake, and by Eumæus unperceived,
    Telemachus his father eyed and smiled.
    Their task accomplish'd, and the table spread,
    They ate, nor any his due portion miss'd,
    And hunger, now, and thirst both sated, all
    To rest repair'd, and took the gift of sleep.


FOOTNOTES:

[72] Alluding probably to entreaties made to him at some former time by
herself and Telemachus, that he would not harm them. Clarke.




BOOK XVII

ARGUMENT

Telemachus returns to the city, and relates to his mother the principal
passages of his voyage; Ulysses, conducted by Eumæus, arrives there also,
and enters among the suitors, having been known only by his old dog
Argus, who dies at his feet. The curiosity of Penelope being excited by
the account which Eumæus gives her of Ulysses, she orders him immediately
into her presence, but Ulysses postpones the interview till evening, when
the suitors having left the palace, there shall be no danger of
interruption. Eumæus returns to his cottage.


    Now look'd Aurora from the East abroad,
    When the illustrious offspring of divine
    Ulysses bound his sandals to his feet;
    He seiz'd his sturdy spear match'd to his gripe,
    And to the city meditating quick
    Departure now, the swine-herd thus bespake.
      Father! I seek the city, to convince
    My mother of my safe return, whose tears,
    I judge, and lamentation shall not cease
    Till her own eyes behold me. But I lay                            10
    On thee this charge. Into the city lead,
    Thyself, this hapless guest, that he may beg
    Provision there, a morsel and a drop
    From such as may, perchance, vouchsafe the boon.
    I cannot, vext and harass'd as I am,
    Feed all, and should the stranger take offence,
    The worse for him. Plain truth is my delight.
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    Nor is it my desire to be detained.
    Better the mendicant in cities seeks                              20
    His dole, vouchsafe it whosoever may,
    Than in the villages. I am not young,
    Nor longer of an age that well accords
    With rural tasks, nor could I all perform
    That it might please a master to command.
    Go then, and when I shall have warm'd my limbs
    Before the hearth, and when the risen sun
    Shall somewhat chase the cold, thy servant's task
    Shall be to guide me thither, as thou bidd'st,
    For this is a vile garb; the frosty air                           30
    Of morning would benumb me thus attired,
    And, as ye say, the city is remote.
      He ended, and Telemachus in haste
    Set forth, his thoughts all teeming as he went
    With dire revenge. Soon in the palace-courts
    Arriving, he reclined his spear against
    A column, and proceeded to the hall.
    Him Euryclea, first, his nurse, perceived,
    While on the variegated seats she spread
    Their fleecy cov'ring; swift with tearful eyes                    40
    She flew to him, and the whole female train
    Of brave Ulysses swarm'd around his son,
    Clasping him, and his forehead and his neck
    Kissing affectionate; then came, herself,
    As golden Venus or Diana fair,
    Forth from her chamber to her son's embrace,
    The chaste Penelope; with tears she threw
    Her arms around him, his bright-beaming eyes
    And forehead kiss'd, and with a murmur'd plaint
    Maternal, in wing'd accents thus began.                           50
      Thou hast return'd, light of my eyes! my son!
    My lov'd Telemachus! I had no hope
    To see thee more when once thou hadst embark'd
    For Pylus, privily, and with no consent
    From me obtain'd, news seeking of thy sire.
    But haste; unfold. Declare what thou hast seen.
      To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.
    Ah mother! let my sorrows rest, nor me
    From death so lately 'scaped afflict anew,
    But, bathed and habited in fresh attire,                          60
    With all the maidens of thy train ascend
    To thy superior chamber, there to vow
    A perfect hecatomb to all the Gods,
    When Jove shall have avenged our num'rous wrongs.
    I seek the forum, there to introduce
    A guest, my follower from the Pylian shore,
    Whom sending forward with my noble band,
    I bade Piræus to his own abode
    Lead him, and with all kindness entertain
    The stranger, till I should myself arrive.                        70
      He spake, nor flew his words useless away.
    She, bathed and habited in fresh attire,
    Vow'd a full hecatomb to all the Gods,
    Would Jove but recompense her num'rous wrongs.
    Then, spear in hand, went forth her son, two dogs
    Fleet-footed following him. O'er all his form
    Pallas diffused a dignity divine,
    And ev'ry eye gazed on him as he pass'd.
    The suitors throng'd him round, joy on their lips
    And welcome, but deep mischief in their hearts.                   80
    He, shunning all that crowd, chose to himself
    A seat, where Mentor sat, and Antiphus,
    And Halytherses, long his father's friends
    Sincere, who of his voyage much enquired.
    Then drew Piræus nigh, leading his guest
    Toward the forum; nor Telemachus
    Stood long aloof, but greeted his approach,
    And was accosted by Piræus thus.
      Sir! send thy menial women to bring home
    The precious charge committed to my care,                         90
    Thy gifts at Menelaus' hands received.
      To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.
    Piræus! wait; for I not yet foresee
    The upshot. Should these haughty ones effect
    My death, clandestine, under my own roof,
    And parcel my inheritance by lot,
    I rather wish those treasures thine, than theirs.
    But should I with success plan for them all
    A bloody death, then, wing'd with joy, thyself
    Bring home those presents to thy joyful friend.                  100
      So saying, he led the anxious stranger thence
    Into the royal mansion, where arrived,
    Each cast his mantle on a couch or throne,
    And plung'd his feet into a polish'd bath.
    There wash'd and lubricated with smooth oils,
    From the attendant maidens each received
    Tunic and shaggy mantle. Thus attired,
    Forth from the baths they stepp'd, and sat again.
    A maiden, next, with golden ewer charged,
    And silver bowl, pour'd water on their hands,                    110
    And spread the polish'd table, which with food
    Of all kinds, remnants of the last regale,
    The mistress of the household charge supplied.
    Meantime, beside a column of the dome
    His mother, on a couch reclining, twirl'd
    Her slender threads. They to the furnish'd board
    Stretch'd forth their hands, and, hunger now and thirst
    Both satisfied, Penelope began.
      Telemachus! I will ascend again,
    And will repose me on my woeful bed;                             120
    For such it hath been, and with tears of mine
    Ceaseless bedew'd, e'er since Ulysses went
    With Atreus' sons to Troy. For not a word
    Thou would'st vouchsafe me till our haughty guests
    Had occupied the house again, of all
    That thou hast heard (if aught indeed thou hast)
    Of thy long-absent father's wish'd return.
      Her answer'd then Telemachus discrete.
    Mother, at thy request I will with truth
    Relate the whole. At Pylus shore arrived                         130
    We Nestor found, Chief of the Pylian race.
    Receiving me in his august abode,
    He entertain'd me with such welcome kind
    As a glad father shews to his own son
    Long-lost and newly found; so Nestor me,
    And his illustrious offspring, entertain'd,
    But yet assured me that he nought had heard
    From mortal lips of my magnanimous sire,
    Whether alive or dead; with his own steeds
    He sent me, and with splendid chariot thence                     140
    To spear-famed Menelaus, Atreus' son.
    There saw I Helen, by the Gods' decree
    Auth'ress of trouble both to Greece and Troy.
    The Hero Menelaus then enquired
    What cause had urged me to the pleasant vale
    Of Lacedæmon; plainly I rehearsed
    The occasion, and the Hero thus replied.
      Ye Gods! they are ambitious of the bed
    Of a brave man, however base themselves.
    But, as it chances when the hart hath laid                       150
    Her fawns new-yean'd and sucklings yet, to rest
    In some resistless lion's den, she roams,
    Meantime, the hills, and in the grassy vales
    Feeds heedless, but the lion to his lair
    Returning soon, both her and hers destroys,
    So shall thy father, brave Ulysses, them.
    Jove! Pallas! and Apollo! oh that such
    As erst in well-built Lesbos, where he strove
    With Philomelides, whom wrestling, flat
    He threw, when all Achaia's sons rejoiced,                       160
    Ulysses, now, might mingle with his foes!
    Short life and bitter nuptials should be theirs,
    But thy enquiries neither indirect
    Will I evade, nor give thee false reply,
    But all that from the Ancient of the Deep[73]
    I have received will utter, hiding nought.
    The God declared that he had seen thy sire
    In a lone island, sorrowing, and detain'd
    An inmate in the grotto of the nymph
    Calypso, wanting also means by which                             170
    To reach the country of his birth again,
    For neither gallant barks nor friends had he
    To speed his passage o'er the boundless waves.
      So Menelaus spake, the spear-renown'd.
    My errand thus accomplish'd, I return'd--
    And by the Gods with gales propitious blest,
    Was wafted swiftly to my native shore.
      He spake, and tumult in his mother's heart
    So speaking, raised. Consolatory, next,
    The godlike Theoclymenus began.                                  180
      Consort revered of Laertiades!
    Little the Spartan knew, but list to me,
    For I will plainly prophesy and sure.
    Be Jove of all in heav'n my witness first,
    Then this thy hospitable board, and, last,
    The household Gods of the illustrious Chief
    Ulysses, at whose hearth I have arrived,[74]
    That, even now, within his native isle
    Ulysses somewhere sits, or creeps obscure,
    Witness of these enormities, and seeds                           190
    Sowing of dire destruction for his foes;
    So sure an augury, while on the deck
    Reclining of the gallant bark, I saw,
    And with loud voice proclaim'd it to thy son.
      Him answer'd then Penelope discrete.
    Grant heav'n, my guest, that this good word of thine
    Fail not! then shalt thou soon such bounty share
    And friendship at my hands, that at first sight
    Whoe'er shall meet thee shall pronounce thee blest.
      Thus they conferr'd. Meantime the suitors hurl'd               200
    The quoit and lance on the smooth area spread
    Before Ulysses' gate, the custom'd scene
    Of their contentions, sports, and clamours rude.
    But when the hour of supper now approach'd,
    And from the pastures on all sides the sheep
    Came with their wonted drivers, Medon then
    (For he of all the heralds pleas'd them most,
    And waited at the board) them thus address'd.
      Enough of play, young princes! ent'ring now
    The house, prepare we sedulous our feast,                        210
    Since in well-timed refreshment harm is none.
      He spake, whose admonition pleas'd. At once
    All, rising, sought the palace; there arrived,
    Each cast his mantle off, which on his throne
    Or couch he spread, then, brisk, to slaughter fell
    Of many a victim; sheep and goats and brawns
    They slew, all fatted, and a pastur'd ox,
    Hast'ning the banquet; nor with less dispatch
    Ulysses and Eumæus now prepared
    To seek the town, when thus the swain began.                     220
      My guest! since thy fixt purpose is to seek
    This day the city as my master bade,
    Though I, in truth, much rather wish thee here
    A keeper of our herds, yet, through respect
    And rev'rence of his orders, whose reproof
    I dread, for masters seldom gently chide,
    I would be gone. Arise, let us depart,
    For day already is far-spent, and soon
    The air of even-tide will chill thee more.
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.                           230
    It is enough. I understand. Thou speak'st
    To one intelligent. Let us depart,
    And lead, thyself, the way; but give me, first,
    (If thou have one already hewn) a staff
    To lean on, for ye have described the road
    Rugged, and ofttimes dang'rous to the foot.
      So saying, his tatter'd wallet o'er his back
    He cast, suspended by a leathern twist,
    Eumæus gratified him with a staff,
    And forth they went, leaving the cottage kept                    240
    By dogs and swains. He city-ward his King
    Led on, in form a squalid beggar old,
    Halting, and in unseemly garb attired.
    But when, slow-travelling the craggy way,
    They now approach'd the town, and had attain'd
    The marble fountain deep, which with its streams
    Pellucid all the citizens supplied,
    (Ithacus had that fountain framed of old
    With Neritus and Polyctor, over which
    A grove of water-nourish'd alders hung                           250
    Circular on all sides, while cold the rill
    Ran from the rock, on whose tall summit stood
    The altar of the nymphs, by all who pass'd
    With sacrifice frequented, still, and pray'r)
    Melantheus, son of Dolius, at that fount
    Met them; the chosen goats of ev'ry flock,
    With two assistants, from the field he drove,
    The suitors' supper. He, seeing them both,
    In surly accent boorish, such as fired
    Ulysses with resentment, thus began.                             260
      Ay--this is well--The villain leads the vile--
    Thus evermore the Gods join like to like.
    Thou clumsy swine-herd, whither would'st conduct
    This morsel-hunting mendicant obscene,
    Defiler base of banquets? many a post
    Shall he rub smooth that props him while he begs
    Lean alms, sole object of his low pursuit,
    Who ne'er to sword or tripod yet aspired.
    Would'st thou afford him to me for a guard
    Or sweeper of my stalls, or to supply                            270
    My kids with leaves, he should on bulkier thewes
    Supported stand, though nourish'd but with whey.
    But no such useful arts hath he acquired,
    Nor likes he work, but rather much to extort
    From others food for his unsated maw.
    But mark my prophecy, for it is true,
    At famed Ulysses' house should he arrive,
    His sides shall shatter many a footstool hurl'd
    Against them by the offended princes there.
      He spake, and drawing nigh, with his rais'd foot,              280
    Insolent as he was and brutish, smote
    Ulysses' haunch, yet shook not from his path
    The firm-set Chief, who, doubtful, mused awhile
    Whether to rush on him, and with his staff
    To slay him, or uplifting him on high,
    Downward to dash him headlong; but his wrath
    Restraining, calm he suffer'd the affront.
    Him then Eumæus with indignant look
    Rebuking, rais'd his hands, and fervent pray'd.
      Nymphs of the fountains, progeny of Jove!                      290
    If e'er Ulysses on your altar burn'd
    The thighs of fatted lambs or kidlings, grant
    This my request. O let the Hero soon,
    Conducted by some Deity, return!
    So shall he quell that arrogance which safe
    Thou now indulgest, roaming day by day
    The city, while bad shepherds mar the flocks.
      To whom the goat-herd answer thus return'd
    Melantheus. Marvellous! how rare a speech
    The subtle cur hath framed! whom I will send                     300
    Far hence at a convenient time on board
    My bark, and sell him at no little gain.
    I would, that he who bears the silver bow
    As sure might pierce Telemachus this day
    In his own house, or that the suitors might,
    As that same wand'rer shall return no more!
      He said, and them left pacing slow along,
    But soon, himself, at his Lord's house arrived;
    There ent'ring bold, he with the suitors sat
    Opposite to Eurymachus, for him                                  310
    He valued most. The sewers his portion placed
    Of meat before him, and the maiden, chief
    Directress of the household gave him bread.
    And now, Ulysses, with the swain his friend
    Approach'd, when, hearing the harmonious lyre,
    Both stood, for Phemius had begun his song.
    He grasp'd the swine-herd's hand, and thus he said.
      This house, Eumæus! of Ulysses seems
    Passing magnificent, and to be known
    With ease for his among a thousand more.                         320
    One pile supports another, and a wall
    Crested with battlements surrounds the court;
    Firm, too, the folding doors all force of man
    Defy; but num'rous guests, as I perceive,
    Now feast within; witness the sav'ry steam
    Fast-fuming upward, and the sounding harp,
    Divine associate of the festive board.
      To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.
    Thou hast well-guess'd; no wonder, thou art quick
    On ev'ry theme; but let us well forecast                         330
    This business. Wilt thou, ent'ring first, thyself,
    The splendid mansion, with the suitors mix,
    Me leaving here? or shall I lead the way
    While thou remain'st behind? yet linger not,
    Lest, seeing thee without, some servant strike
    Or drive thee hence. Consider which were best.
      Him answer'd, then, the patient Hero bold.
    It is enough. I understand. Thou speak'st
    To one intelligent. Lead thou the way
    Me leaving here, for neither stripes nor blows                   340
    To me are strange. Much exercised with pain
    In fight and on the Deep, I have long since
    Learn'd patience. Follow, next, what follow may!
    But, to suppress the appetite, I deem
    Impossible; the stomach is a source
    Of ills to man, an avaricious gulph
    Destructive, which to satiate, ships are rigg'd,
    Seas travers'd, and fierce battles waged remote.
      Thus they discoursing stood; Argus the while,
    Ulysses' dog, uplifted where he lay                              350
    His head and ears erect. Ulysses him
    Had bred long since, himself, but rarely used,
    Departing, first, to Ilium. Him the youths
    In other days led frequent to the chace
    Of wild goat, hart and hare; but now he lodg'd
    A poor old cast-off, of his Lord forlorn,
    Where mules and oxen had before the gate
    Much ordure left, with which Ulysses' hinds
    Should, in due time, manure his spacious fields.
    There lay, with dog-devouring vermin foul                        360
    All over, Argus; soon as he perceived
    Long-lost Ulysses nigh, down fell his ears
    Clapp'd close, and with his tail glad sign he gave
    Of gratulation, impotent to rise
    And to approach his master as of old.
    Ulysses, noting him, wiped off a tear
    Unmark'd, and of Eumæus quick enquired.
      I can but wonder seeing such a dog
    Thus lodg'd, Eumæus! beautiful in form
    He is, past doubt, but whether he hath been                      370
    As fleet as fair I know not; rather such
    Perchance as masters sometimes keep to grace
    Their tables, nourish'd more for shew than use.
      To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.
    He is the dog of one dead far remote.
    But had he now such feat-performing strength
    As when Ulysses left him, going hence
    To Ilium, in one moment thou shouldst mark,
    Astonish'd, his agility and force.
    He never in the sylvan deep recess                               380
    The wild beast saw that 'scaped him, and he track'd
    Their steps infallible; but he hath now
    No comfort, for (the master dead afar)
    The heedless servants care not for his dog.
    Domestics, missing once their Lord's controul,
    Grow wilful, and refuse their proper tasks;
    For whom Jove dooms to servitude, he takes
    At once the half of that man's worth away.
      He said, and, ent'ring at the portal, join'd
    The suitors. Then his destiny released                           390
    Old Argus, soon as he had lived to see
    Ulysses in the twentieth year restored.
      Godlike Telemachus, long ere the rest,
    Marking the swine-herd's entrance, with a nod
    Summon'd him to approach. Eumæus cast
    His eye around, and seeing vacant there
    The seat which the dispenser of the feast
    Was wont to occupy while he supplied
    The num'rous guests, planted it right before
    Telemachus, and at his table sat,                                400
    On which the herald placed for him his share
    Of meat, and from the baskets gave him bread.
    Soon after _him_, Ulysses enter'd slow
    The palace, like a squalid beggar old,
    Staff-propp'd, and in loose tatters foul attired.
    Within the portal on the ashen sill
    He sat, and, seeming languid, lean'd against
    A cypress pillar by the builder's art
    Polish'd long since, and planted at the door.
    Then took Telemachus a loaf entire                               410
    Forth from the elegant basket, and of flesh
    A portion large as his two hands contained,
    And, beck'ning close the swine-herd, charged him thus.
      These to the stranger; whom advise to ask
    Some dole from ev'ry suitor; bashful fear
    Ill suits the mendicant by want oppress'd.
      He spake; Eumæus went, and where he sat
    Arriving, in wing'd accents thus began.
      Telemachus, oh stranger, sends thee these,
    And counsels thee to importune for more                          420
    The suitors, one by one; for bashful fear
    Ill suits the mendicant by want oppress'd.
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    Jove, King of all, grant ev'ry good on earth
    To kind Telemachus, and the complete
    Accomplishment of all that he desires!
      He said, and with both hands outspread, the mess
    Receiving as he sat, on his worn bag
    Disposed it at his feet. Long as the bard
    Chaunted, he ate, and when he ceas'd to eat,                     430
    Then also ceas'd the bard divine to sing.
    And now ensued loud clamour in the hall
    And tumult, when Minerva, drawing nigh
    To Laertiades, impell'd the Chief
    Crusts to collect, or any pittance small
    At ev'ry suitor's hand, for trial's sake
    Of just and unjust; yet deliv'rance none
    From evil she design'd for any there.
    From left to right[75] his progress he began
    Petitioning, with outstretch'd hands, the throng,                440
    As one familiar with the beggar's art.
    They, pitying, gave to him, but view'd him still
    With wonder, and enquiries mutual made
    Who, and whence was he? Then the goat-herd rose
    Melanthius, and th' assembly thus address'd.
      Hear me, ye suitors of th' illustrious Queen!
    This guest, of whom ye ask, I have beheld
    Elsewhere; the swine-herd brought him; but himself
    I know not, neither who nor whence he is.
      So he; then thus Antinoüs stern rebuked                        450
    The swine-herd. Ah, notorious as thou art,
    Why hast thou shewn this vagabond the way
    Into the city? are we not enough
    Infested with these troublers of our feasts?
    Deem'st it a trifle that such numbers eat
    At thy Lord's cost, and hast thou, therefore, led
    This fellow hither, found we know not where?
      To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.
    Antinoüs! though of high degree, thou speak'st
    Not wisely. What man to another's house                          460
    Repairs to invite him to a feast, unless
    He be of those who by profession serve
    The public, prophet, healer of disease,
    Ingenious artist, or some bard divine
    Whose music may exhilarate the guests?
    These, and such only, are in ev'ry land
    Call'd to the banquet; none invites the poor,
    Who much consume, and no requital yield.
    But thou of all the suitors roughly treat'st
    Ulysses' servants most, and chiefly me;                          470
    Yet thee I heed not, while the virtuous Queen
    Dwells in this palace, and her godlike son.
      To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.
    Peace! answer not verbose a man like him.
    Antinoüs hath a tongue accustom'd much
    To tauntings, and promotes them in the rest.
      Then, turning to Antinoüs, quick he said--
    Antinoüs! as a father for his son
    Takes thought, so thou for me, who bidd'st me chase
    The stranger harshly hence; but God forbid![76]                  480
    Impart to him. I grudge not, but myself
    Exhort thee to it; neither, in this cause,
    Fear thou the Queen, or in the least regard
    Whatever menial throughout all the house
    Of famed Ulysses. Ah! within thy breast
    Dwells no such thought; thou lov'st not to impart
    To others, but to gratify thyself.
      To whom Antinoüs answer thus return'd.
    High-soaring and intemp'rate in thy speech
    How hast thou said, Telemachus? Would all                        490
    As much bestow on him, he should not seek
    Admittance here again three months to come.
      So saying, he seized the stool which, banqueting,
    He press'd with his nice feet, and from beneath
    The table forth advanced it into view.
    The rest all gave to him, with bread and flesh
    Filling his wallet, and Ulysses, now,
    Returning to his threshold, there to taste
    The bounty of the Greeks, paused in his way
    Beside Antinoüs, whom he thus address'd.                         500
      Kind sir! vouchsafe to me! for thou appear'st
    Not least, but greatest of the Achaians here,
    And hast a kingly look. It might become
    Thee therefore above others to bestow,
    So should I praise thee wheresoe'er I roam.
    I also lived the happy owner once
    Of such a stately mansion, and have giv'n
    To num'rous wand'rers (whencesoe'er they came)
    All that they needed; I was also served
    By many, and enjoy'd all that denotes                            510
    The envied owner opulent and blest.
    But Jove (for so it pleas'd him) hath reduced
    My all to nothing, prompting me, in league
    With rovers of the Deep, to sail afar
    To Ægypt, for my sure destruction there.
    Within th' Ægyptian stream my barks well-oar'd
    I station'd, and, enjoining strict my friends
    To watch them close-attendant at their side,
    Commanded spies into the hill-tops; but they,
    Under the impulse of a spirit rash                               520
    And hot for quarrel, the well-cultur'd fields
    Pillaged of the Ægyptians, captive led
    Their wives and little-ones, and slew the men.
    Ere long, the loud alarm their city reach'd.
    Down came the citizens, by dawn of day,
    With horse and foot and with the gleam of arms
    Filling the plain. Then Jove with panic dread
    Struck all my people; none found courage more
    To stand, for mischiefs swarm'd on ev'ry side.
    There, num'rous by the glitt'ring spear we fell                  530
    Slaughter'd, while others they conducted thence
    Alive to servitude; but me they gave
    To Dmetor, King in Cyprus, Jasus' son;
    He entertained me liberally, and thence
    This land I reach'd, but poor and woe-begone.
      Then answer thus Antinoüs harsh return'd.
    What dæmon introduced this nuisance here,
    This troubler of our feast? stand yonder, keep
    Due distance from my table, or expect
    To see an Ægypt and a Cyprus worse                               540
    Than those, bold mendicant and void of shame!
    Thou hauntest each, and, inconsid'rate, each
    Gives to thee, because gifts at other's cost
    Are cheap, and, plentifully serv'd themselves,
    They squander, heedless, viands not their own.
      To whom Ulysses while he slow retired.
    Gods! how illib'ral with that specious form!
    Thou wouldst not grant the poor a grain of salt
    From thy own board, who at another's fed
    So nobly, canst thou not spare a crust to me.                    550
      He spake; then raged Antinoüs still the more,
    And in wing'd accents, louring, thus replied.
      Take such dismission now as thou deserv'st,
    Opprobrious! hast thou dared to scoff at me?
      So saying, he seized his stool, and on the joint
    Of his right shoulder smote him; firm as rock
    He stood, by no such force to be displaced,
    But silent shook his brows, and dreadful deeds
    Of vengeance ruminating, sought again
    His seat the threshold, where his bag full-charged               560
    He grounded, and the suitors thus address'd.
      Hear now, ye suitors of the matchless Queen,
    My bosom's dictates. Trivial is the harm,
    Scarce felt, if, fighting for his own, his sheep
    Perchance, or beeves, a man receive a blow.
    But me Antinoüs struck for that I ask'd
    Food from him merely to appease the pangs
    Of hunger, source of num'rous ills to man.
    If then the poor man have a God t' avenge
    His wrongs, I pray to him that death may seize                   570
    Antinoüs, ere his nuptial hour arrive!
      To whom Antinoüs answer thus return'd,
    Son of Eupithes. Either seated there
    Or going hence, eat, stranger, and be still;
    Lest for thy insolence, by hand or foot
    We drag thee forth, and thou be flay'd alive.
      He ceased, whom all indignant heard, and thus
    Ev'n his own proud companions censured him.
      Antinoüs! thou didst not well to smite
    The wretched vagabond. O thou art doom'd                         580
    For ever, if there be a God in heav'n;[77]
    For, in similitude of strangers oft,
    The Gods, who can with ease all shapes assume,
    Repair to populous cities, where they mark
    The outrageous and the righteous deeds of men.
      So they, for whose reproof he little cared.
    But in his heart Telemachus that blow
    Resented, anguish-torn, yet not a tear
    He shed, but silent shook his brows, and mused
    Terrible things. Penelope, meantime,                             590
    Told of the wand'rer so abused beneath
    Her roof, among her maidens thus exclaim'd.
      So may Apollo, glorious archer, smite
    Thee also. Then Eurynome replied,
      Oh might our pray'rs prevail, none of them all
    Should see bright-charioted Aurora more.
      Her answer'd then Penelope discrete.
    Nurse! they are odious all, for that alike
    All teem with mischief; but Antinoüs' looks
    Remind me ever of the gloom of death.                            600
    A stranger hath arrived who, begging, roams
    The house, (for so his penury enjoins)
    The rest have giv'n him, and have fill'd his bag
    With viands, but Antinoüs hath bruised
    His shoulder with a foot-stool hurl'd at him.
      While thus the Queen conversing with her train
    In her own chamber sat, Ulysses made
    Plenteous repast. Then, calling to her side
    Eumæus, thus she signified her will.
      Eumæus, noble friend! bid now approach                         610
    Yon stranger. I would speak with him, and ask
    If he has seen Ulysses, or have heard
    Tidings, perchance, of the afflicted Chief,
    For much a wand'rer by his garb he seems.
      To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.
    Were those Achaians silent, thou shouldst hear,
    O Queen! a tale that would console thy heart.
    Three nights I housed him, and within my cot
    Three days detain'd him, (for his ship he left
    A fugitive, and came direct to me)                               620
    But half untold his hist'ry still remains.
    As when his eye one fixes on a bard
    From heav'n instructed in such themes as charm
    The ear of mortals, ever as he sings
    The people press, insatiable, to hear,
    So, in my cottage, seated at my side,
    That stranger with his tale enchanted me.
    Laertes, he affirms, hath been his guest
    Erewhile in Crete, where Minos' race resides,
    And thence he hath arrived, after great loss,                    630
    A suppliant to the very earth abased;
    He adds, that in Thesprotia's neighbour realm
    He of Ulysses heard, both that he lives,
    And that he comes laden with riches home.
      To whom Penelope, discrete, replied.
    Haste; call him. I would hear, myself, his tale.
    Meantime, let these, or in the palace gate
    Sport jocular, or here; their hearts are light,
    For their possessions are secure; _their_ wine
    None drinks, or eats _their_ viands, save their own,             640
    While my abode, day after day, themselves
    Haunting, my beeves and sheep and fatted goats
    Slay for the banquet, and my casks exhaust
    Extravagant, whence endless waste ensues;
    For no such friend as was Ulysses once
    Have I to expel the mischief. But might he
    Revisit once his native shores again,
    Then, aided by his son, he should avenge,
    Incontinent, the wrongs which now I mourn.
      Then sneezed Telemachus with sudden force,                     650
    That all the palace rang; his mother laugh'd,
    And in wing'd accents thus the swain bespake.
      Haste--bid him hither--hear'st thou not the sneeze
    Propitious of my son? oh might it prove
    A presage of inevitable death
    To all these revellers! may none escape!
    Now mark me well. Should the event his tale
    Confirm, at my own hands he shall receive
    Mantle and tunic both for his reward.
      She spake; he went, and where Ulysses sat                      660
    Arriving, in wing'd accents thus began.
      Penelope, my venerable friend!
    Calls thee, the mother of Telemachus.
    Oppress'd by num'rous troubles, she desires
    To ask thee tidings of her absent Lord.
    And should the event verify thy report,
    Thy meed shall be (a boon which much thou need'st)
    Tunic and mantle; but she gives no more;
    Thy sustenance thou must, as now, obtain,[78]
    Begging it at their hands who chuse to give.                     670
      Then thus Ulysses, Hero toil-inured.
    Eumæus! readily I can relate
    Truth, and truth only, to the prudent Queen
    Icarius' daughter; for of him I know
    Much, and have suff'red sorrows like his own.
    But dread I feel of this imperious throng
    Perverse, whose riot and outrageous acts
    Of violence echo through the vault of heav'n.
    And, even now, when for no fault of mine
    Yon suitor struck me as I pass'd, and fill'd                     680
    My flesh with pain, neither Telemachus
    Nor any interposed to stay his arm.
    Now, therefore, let Penelope, although
    Impatient, till the sun descend postpone
    Her questions; then she may enquire secure
    When comes her husband, and may nearer place
    My seat to the hearth-side, for thinly clad
    Thou know'st I am, whose aid I first implored.
      He ceas'd; at whose reply Eumæus sought
    Again the Queen, but ere he yet had pass'd                       690
    The threshold, thus she greeted his return.
      Com'st thou alone, Eumæus? why delays
    The invited wand'rer? dreads he other harm?
    Or sees he aught that with a bashful awe
    Fills him? the bashful poor are poor indeed.
      To whom, Eumæus, thou didst thus reply.
    He hath well spoken; none who would decline
    The rudeness of this contumelious throng
    Could answer otherwise; thee he entreats
    To wait till sun-set, and that course, O Queen,                  700
    Thou shalt thyself far more commodious find,
    To hold thy conf'rence with the guest, alone.
      Then answer thus Penelope return'd.
    The stranger, I perceive, is not unwise,
    Whoe'er he be, for on the earth are none
    Proud, insolent, and profligate as these.
      So spake the Queen. Then (all his message told)
    The good Eumæus to the suitors went
    Again, and with his head inclined toward
    Telemachus, lest others should his words                         710
    Witness, in accents wing'd him thus address'd.
      Friend and kind master! I return to keep
    My herds, and to attend my rural charge,
    Whence we are both sustain'd. Keep thou, meantime,
    All here with vigilance, but chiefly watch
    For thy own good, and save _thyself_ from harm;
    For num'rous here brood mischief, whom the Gods
    Exterminate, ere yet their plots prevail!
      To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.
    So be it, father! and (thy evening-mess                          720
    Eaten) depart; to-morrow come again,
    Bringing fair victims hither; I will keep,
    I and the Gods, meantime, all here secure.
      He ended; then resumed once more the swain
    His polish'd seat, and, both with wine and food
    Now satiate, to his charge return'd, the court
    Leaving and all the palace throng'd with guests;
    They (for it now was evening) all alike
    Turn'd jovial to the song and to the dance.


FOOTNOTES:

[73] Proteus.

[74] The hearth was the altar on which the lares or household-gods were
worshipped.

[75] That he might begin auspiciously. Wine was served in the same
direction. F.

[76] Here again Θεὸς occurs in the abstract.

[77]
    Ει δη που τις επουρανιος θεος εσι

Eustathius, and Clarke after him, understand an aposiopesis here, as if
the speaker meant to say--what if there should be? or--suppose there
should be? But the sentence seems to fall in better with what follows
interpreted as above, and it is a sense of the passage not unwarranted by
the opinion of other commentators. See Schaufelbergerus.

[78] This seems added by Eumæus to cut off from Ulysses the hope that
might otherwise tempt him to use fiction.




BOOK XVIII

ARGUMENT

The beggar Irus arrives at the palace; a combat takes place between him
and Ulysses, in which Irus is by one blow vanquished. Penelope appears to
the suitors, and having reminded them of the presents which she had a
right to expect from them, receives a gift from each. Eurymachus,
provoked by a speech of Ulysses, flings a foot-stool at him, which knocks
down the cup-bearer; a general tumult is the consequence, which
continues, till by the advice of Telemachus, seconded by Amphinomus, the
suitors retire to their respective homes.


    Now came a public mendicant, a man
    Accustom'd, seeking alms, to roam the streets
    Of Ithaca; one never sated yet
    With food or drink; yet muscle had he none,
    Or strength of limb, though giant-built in show.
    Arnæus was the name which at his birth
    His mother gave him, but the youthful band
    Of suitors, whom as messenger he served,
    All named him Irus. He, arriving, sought
    To drive Ulysses forth from his own home,                         10
    And in rough accents rude him thus rebuked.
      Forth from the porch, old man! lest by the foot
    I drag thee quickly forth. Seest not how all
    Wink on me, and by signs give me command
    To drag thee hence? nor is it aught but shame
    That checks me. Yet arise, lest soon with fists
    Thou force me to adjust our diff'rence.
      To whom Ulysses, low'ring dark, replied.
    Peace, fellow! neither word nor deed of mine
    Wrongs thee, nor feel I envy at the boon,                         20
    However plentiful, which thou receiv'st.
    The sill may hold us both; thou dost not well
    To envy others; thou appear'st like me
    A vagrant; plenty is the gift of heav'n.
    But urge me not to trial of our fists,
    Lest thou provoke me, and I stain with blood
    Thy bosom and thy lips, old as I am.
    So, my attendance should to-morrow prove
    More tranquil here; for thou should'st leave, I judge,
    Ulysses' mansion, never to return.                                30
      Then answer'd Irus, kindling with disdain.
    Gods! with what volubility of speech
    The table-hunter prates, like an old hag
    Collied with chimney-smutch! but ah beware!
    For I intend thee mischief, and to dash
    With both hands ev'ry grinder from thy gums,
    As men untooth a pig pilf'ring the corn.
    Come--gird thee, that all here may view the strife--
    But how wilt thou oppose one young as I?
      Thus on the threshold of the lofty gate                         40
    They, wrangling, chafed each other, whose dispute
    The high-born youth Antinoüs mark'd; he laugh'd
    Delighted, and the suitors thus address'd.
      Oh friends! no pastime ever yet occurr'd
    Pleasant as this which, now, the Gods themselves
    Afford us. Irus and the stranger brawl
    As they would box. Haste--let us urge them on.
      He said; at once loud-laughing all arose;
    The ill-clad disputants they round about
    Encompass'd, and Antinoüs thus began.                             50
      Attend ye noble suitors to my voice.
    Two paunches lie of goats here on the fire,
    Which fill'd with fat and blood we set apart
    For supper; he who conquers, and in force
    Superior proves, shall freely take the paunch
    Which he prefers, and shall with us thenceforth
    Feast always; neither will we here admit
    Poor man beside to beg at our repasts.
      He spake, whom all approved; next, artful Chief
    Ulysses thus, dissembling, them address'd.                        60
      Princes! unequal is the strife between
    A young man and an old with mis'ry worn;
    But hunger, always counsellor of ill,
    Me moves to fight, that many a bruise received,
    I may be foil'd at last. Now swear ye all
    A solemn oath, that none, for Irus' sake
    Shall, interposing, smite me with his fist
    Clandestine, forcing me to yield the prize.
      He ceas'd, and, as he bade, all present swore
    A solemn oath; then thus, amid them all                           70
    Standing, Telemachus majestic spake.
      Guest! if thy courage and thy manly mind
    Prompt thee to banish this man hence, no force
    Fear thou beside, for who smites thee, shall find
    Yet other foes to cope with; I am here
    In the host's office, and the royal Chiefs
    Eurymachus and Antinoüs, alike
    Discrete, accord unanimous with me.
      He ceas'd, whom all approved. Then, with his rags
    Ulysses braced for decency his loins                              80
    Around, but gave to view his brawny thighs
    Proportion'd fair, and stripp'd his shoulders broad,
    His chest and arms robust; while, at his side,
    Dilating more the Hero's limbs and more
    Minerva stood; the assembly with fixt eyes
    Astonish'd gazed on him, and, looking full
    On his next friend, a suitor thus remark'd.
      Irus shall be in Irus found no more.
    He hath pull'd evil on himself. What thewes
    And what a haunch the senior's tatters hid!                       90
      So he--meantime in Irus' heart arose
    Horrible tumult; yet, his loins by force
    Girding, the servants dragg'd him to the fight
    Pale, and his flesh all quiv'ring as he came;
    Whose terrors thus Antinoüs sharp rebuked.
      Now, wherefore liv'st, and why wast ever born
    Thou mountain-mass of earth! if such dismay
    Shake thee at thought of combat with a man
    Ancient as he, and worn with many woes?
    But mark, I threaten not in vain; should he                      100
    O'ercome thee, and in force superior prove,
    To Echetus thou go'st; my sable bark
    Shall waft thee to Epirus, where he reigns
    Enemy of mankind; of nose and ears
    He shall despoil thee with his ruthless steel,
    And tearing by the roots the parts away[79]
    That mark thy sex, shall cast them to the dogs.
      He said; _His_ limbs new terrors at that sound
    Shook under him; into the middle space
    They led him, and each raised his hands on high.                 110
    Then doubtful stood Ulysses toil-inured,
    Whether to strike him lifeless to the earth
    At once, or fell him with a managed blow.
    To smite with managed force at length he chose
    As wisest, lest, betray'd by his own strength,
    He should be known. With elevated fists
    Both stood; him Irus on the shoulder struck,
    But he his adversary on the neck
    Pash'd close beneath his ear; he split the bones,
    And blood in sable streams ran from his mouth.                   120
    With many an hideous yell he dropp'd, his teeth
    Chatter'd, and with his heels he drumm'd the ground.
    The wooers, at that sight, lifting their hands
    In glad surprize, laugh'd all their breath away.
    Then, through the vestibule, and right across
    The court, Ulysses dragg'd him by the foot
    Into the portico, where propping him
    Against the wall, and giving him his staff,
    In accents wing'd he bade him thus farewell.
      There seated now, dogs drive and swine away,                   130
    Nor claim (thyself so base) supreme controul
    O'er other guests and mendicants, lest harm
    Reach thee, hereafter, heavier still than this.
      So saying, his tatter'd wallet o'er his back
    He threw suspended by its leathern twist,
    And tow'rd the threshold turning, sat again,
    They laughing ceaseless still, the palace-door
    Re-enter'd, and him, courteous, thus bespake.
      Jove, and all Jove's assessors in the skies
    Vouchsafe thee, stranger, whatsoe'er it be,                      140
    Thy heart's desire! who hast our ears reliev'd
    From that insatiate beggar's irksome tone.
    Soon to Epirus he shall go dispatch'd
    To Echetus the King, pest of mankind.
      So they, to whose propitious words the Chief
    Listen'd delighted. Then Antinoüs placed
    The paunch before him, and Amphinomus
    Two loaves, selected from the rest; he fill'd
    A goblet also, drank to him, and said,
      My father, hail! O stranger, be thy lot                        150
    Hereafter blest, though adverse now and hard!
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    To me, Amphinomus, endued thou seem'st
    With much discretion, who art also son
    Of such a sire, whose fair report I know,
    Dulichian Nysus, opulent and good.
    Fame speaks thee his, and thou appear'st a man
    Judicious; hear me, therefore; mark me well.
    Earth nourishes, of all that breathe or creep,
    No creature weak as man; for while the Gods                      160
    Grant him prosperity and health, no fear
    Hath he, or thought, that he shall ever mourn;
    But when the Gods with evils unforeseen
    Smite him, he bears them with a grudging mind;
    For such as the complexion of his lot
    By the appointment of the Sire of all,
    Such is the colour of the mind of man.
    I, too, have been familiar in my day
    With wealth and ease, but I was then self-will'd,
    And many wrong'd, embolden'd by the thought                      170
    Of my own father's and my brethren's pow'r.
    Let no man, therefore, be unjust, but each
    Use modestly what gift soe'er of heav'n.
    So do not these. These ever bent I see
    On deeds injurious, the possessions large
    Consuming, and dishonouring the wife
    Of one, who will not, as I judge, remain
    Long absent from his home, but is, perchance,
    Ev'n at the door. Thee, therefore, may the Gods
    Steal hence in time! ah, meet not his return                     180
    To his own country! for they will not part,
    (He and the suitors) without blood, I think,
    If once he enter at these gates again!
      He ended, and, libation pouring, quaff'd
    The generous juice, then in the prince's hand
    Replaced the cup; he, pensive, and his head
    Inclining low, pass'd from him; for his heart
    Forboded ill; yet 'scaped not even he,
    But in the snare of Pallas caught, his life
    To the heroic arm and spear resign'd                             190
    Of brave Telemachus. Reaching, at length,
    The seat whence he had ris'n, he sat again.
      Minerva then, Goddess, cærulean-eyed,
    Prompted Icarius' daughter to appear
    Before the suitors; so to expose the more
    Their drift iniquitous, and that herself
    More bright than ever in her husband's eyes
    Might shine, and in her son's. Much mirth she feign'd,[80]
    And, bursting into laughter, thus began.
      I wish, Eurynome! (who never felt                              200
    That wish till now) though I detest them all,
    To appear before the suitors, in whose ears
    I will admonish, for his good, my son,
    Not to associate with that lawless crew
    Too much, who speak him fair, but foul intend.
      Then answer thus Eurynome return'd.
    My daughter! wisely hast thou said and well.
    Go! bathe thee and anoint thy face, then give
    To thy dear son such counsel as thou wilt
    Without reserve; but shew not there thy cheeks                   210
    Sullied with tears, for profit none accrues
    From grief like thine, that never knows a change.
    And he is now bearded, and hath attained
    That age which thou wast wont with warmest pray'r
    To implore the Gods that he might live to see.
      Her answer'd then Penelope discrete.
    Persuade not me, though studious of my good,
    To bathe, Eurynome! or to anoint
    My face with oil; for all my charms the Gods
    Inhabitants of Olympus then destroy'd,                           220
    When he, embarking, left me. Go, command
    Hippodamia and Autonöe
    That they attend me to the hall, and wait
    Beside me there; for decency forbids
    That I should enter to the men, alone.
      She ceas'd, and through the house the ancient dame
    Hasted to summon whom she had enjoin'd.
      But Pallas, Goddess of the azure eyes,
    Diffused, meantime, the kindly dew of sleep
    Around Icarius' daughter; on her couch                           230
    Reclining, soon as she reclin'd, she dozed,
    And yielded to soft slumber all her frame.
    Then, that the suitors might admire her more,
    The glorious Goddess cloath'd her, as she lay,
    With beauty of the skies; her lovely face
    She with ambrosia purified, with such
    As Cytherea chaplet-crown'd employs
    Herself, when in the eye-ensnaring dance
    She joins the Graces; to a statelier height
    Beneath her touch, and ampler size she grew,                     240
    And fairer than the elephantine bone
    Fresh from the carver's hand. These gifts conferr'd
    Divine, the awful Deity retired.
    And now, loud-prattling as they came, arrived
    Her handmaids; sleep forsook her at the sound,
    She wiped away a tear, and thus she said.
      Me gentle sleep, sad mourner as I am,
    Hath here involved. O would that by a death
    As gentle chaste Diana would herself
    This moment set me free, that I might waste                      250
    My life no longer in heart-felt regret
    Of a lamented husband's various worth
    And virtue, for in Greece no Peer had he!
      She said, and through her chambers' stately door
    Issuing, descended; neither went she sole,
    But with those two fair menials of her train.
    Arriving, most majestic of her sex,
    In presence of the num'rous guests, beneath
    The portal of the stately dome she stood
    Between her maidens, with her lucid veil                         260
    Mantling her lovely cheeks. Then, ev'ry knee
    Trembled, and ev'ry heart with am'rous heat
    Dissolv'd, her charms all coveting alike,
    While to Telemachus her son she spake.
      Telemachus! thou art no longer wise
    As once thou wast, and even when a child.
    For thriven as thou art, and at full size
    Arrived of man, so fair proportion'd, too,
    That ev'n a stranger, looking on thy growth
    And beauty, would pronounce thee nobly born,                     270
    Yet is thy intellect still immature.
    For what is this? why suffer'st thou a guest
    To be abused in thy own palace? how?
    Know'st not that if the stranger seated here
    Endure vexation, the disgrace is thine?
      Her answer'd, then, Telemachus discrete.
    I blame thee not, my mother, that thou feel'st
    Thine anger moved; yet want I not a mind
    Able to mark and to discern between
    Evil and good, child as I lately was,                            280
    Although I find not promptitude of thought
    Sufficient always, overaw'd and check'd
    By such a multitude, all bent alike
    On mischief, of whom none takes part with me.
    But Irus and the stranger have not fought,
    Urged by the suitors, and the stranger prov'd
    Victorious; yes--heav'n knows how much I wish
    That, (in the palace some, some in the court)
    The suitors all sat vanquish'd, with their heads
    Depending low, and with enfeebled limbs,                         290
    Even as that same Irus, while I speak,
    With chin on bosom propp'd at the hall-gate
    Sits drunkard-like, incapable to stand
    Erect, or to regain his proper home.
      So they; and now addressing to the Queen
    His speech, Eurymachus thus interposed.
      O daughter of Icarius! could all eyes
    Throughout Iäsian Argos[81] view thy charms,
    Discrete Penelope! more suitors still
    Assembling in thy courts would banquet here                      300
    From morn to eve; for thou surpassest far
    In beauty, stature, worth, all womankind.
      To whom replied Penelope discrete.
    The Gods, Eurymachus! reduced to nought
    My virtue, beauty, stature, when the Greeks,
    Whom my Ulysses follow'd, sail'd to Troy.
    Could he, returning, my domestic charge
    Himself intend, far better would my fame
    Be so secured, and wider far diffused.
    But I am wretched now, such storms the Gods                      310
    Of woe have sent me. When he left his home,
    Clasping my wrist with his right hand, he said.
      My love! for I imagine not that all
    The warrior Greeks shall safe from Troy return,
    Since fame reports the Trojans brave in fight,
    Skill'd in the spear, mighty to draw the bow,
    And nimble vaulters to the backs of steeds
    High-mettled, which to speediest issue bring
    The dreadful struggle of all-wasting war--
    I know not, therefore, whether heav'n intend                     320
    My safe return, or I must perish there.
    But manage thou at home. Cherish, as now,
    While I am absent, or more dearly still
    My parents, and what time our son thou seest
    Mature, then wed; wed even whom thou wilt,
    And hence to a new home.--Such were his words,
    All which shall full accomplishment ere long
    Receive. The day is near, when hapless I,
    Lost to all comfort by the will of Jove,
    Must meet the nuptials that my soul abhors.                      330
    But this thought now afflicts me, and my mind
    Continual haunts. Such was not heretofore
    The suitors' custom'd practice; all who chose
    To engage in competition for a wife
    Well-qualitied and well-endow'd, produced
    From their own herds and fatted flocks a feast
    For the bride's friends, and splendid presents made,
    But never ate as ye, at others' cost.
      She ceased; then brave Ulysses toil-inured
    Rejoiced that, soothing them, she sought to draw                 340
    From each some gift, although on other views,
    And more important far, himself intent.
      Then thus Antinoüs, Eupithes' son.
    Icarius' daughter wise! only accept
    Such gifts as we shall bring, for gifts demand
    That grace, nor can be decently refused;
    But to our rural labours, or elsewhere
    Depart not we, till first thy choice be made
    Of the Achaian, chief in thy esteem.
      Antinoüs spake, whose answer all approved.                     350
    Then each dispatch'd his herald who should bring
    His master's gift. Antinoüs' herald, first
    A mantle of surpassing beauty brought,
    Wide, various, with no fewer clasps adorn'd
    Than twelve, all golden, and to ev'ry clasp
    Was fitted opposite its eye exact.
    Next, to Eurymachus his herald bore
    A necklace of wrought gold, with amber rich
    Bestudded, ev'ry bead bright as a sun.
    Two servants for Eurydamas produced                              360
    Ear-pendants fashion'd with laborious art,
    Broad, triple-gemm'd, of brilliant light profuse.
    The herald of Polyctor's son, the prince
    Pisander, brought a collar to his Lord,
    A sumptuous ornament. Each Greecian gave,
    And each a gift dissimilar from all.
    Then, loveliest of her sex, turning away,
    She sought her chamber, whom her maidens fair
    Attended, charged with those illustrious gifts.
    Then turn'd, they all to dance and pleasant song                 370
    Joyous, expecting the approach of ev'n.
    Ere long the dusky evening came, and them
    Found sporting still. Then, placing in the hall
    Three hearths that should illumine wide the house,
    They compass'd them around with fuel-wood
    Long-season'd and new-split, mingling the sticks
    With torches. The attendant women watch'd
    And fed those fires by turns, to whom, himself,
    Their unknown Sov'reign thus his speech address'd.
      Ye maidens of the long-regretted Chief                         380
    Ulysses! to the inner-courts retire,
    And to your virtuous Queen, that following there
    Your sev'ral tasks, spinning and combing wool,
    Ye may amuse her; I, meantime, for these
    Will furnish light, and should they chuse to stay
    Till golden morn appear, they shall not tire
    My patience aught, for I can much endure.
      He said; they, titt'ring, on each other gazed.
    But one, Melantho with the blooming cheeks,
    Rebuked him rudely. Dolius was her sire,                         390
    But by Penelope she had been reared
    With care maternal, and in infant years
    Supplied with many a toy; yet even she
    Felt not her mistress' sorrows in her heart,
    But, of Eurymachus enamour'd, oft
    His lewd embraces met; she, with sharp speech
    Reproachful, to Ulysses thus replied.
      Why--what a brainsick vagabond art thou!
    Who neither wilt to the smith's forge retire
    For sleep, nor to the public portico,                            400
    But here remaining, with audacious prate
    Disturb'st this num'rous company, restrain'd
    By no respect or fear; either thou art
    With wine intoxicated, or, perchance,
    Art always fool, and therefore babblest now.
    Say, art thou drunk with joy that thou hast foiled
    The beggar Irus? Tremble, lest a man
    Stronger than Irus suddenly arise,
    Who on thy temples pelting thee with blows
    Far heavier than his, shall drive thee hence                     410
    With many a bruise, and foul with thy own blood.
      To whom Ulysses, frowning stern, replied.
    Snarler! Telemachus shall be inform'd
    This moment of thy eloquent harangue,
    That he may hew thee for it, limb from limb.
      So saying, he scared the women; back they flew
    Into the house, but each with falt'ring knees
    Through dread, for they believ'd his threats sincere.
    He, then illumin'd by the triple blaze,
    Watch'd close the lights, busy from hearth to hearth,            420
    But in his soul, meantime, far other thoughts
    Revolved, tremendous, not conceived in vain.
      Nor Pallas (that they might exasp'rate more
    Laertes' son) permitted to abstain
    From heart-corroding bitterness of speech
    Those suitors proud, of whom Eurymachus,
    Offspring of Polybus, while thus he jeer'd
    Ulysses, set the others in a roar.
      Hear me, ye suitors of the illustrious Queen!
    I shall promulge my thought. This man, methinks,                 430
    Not unconducted by the Gods, hath reach'd
    Ulysses' mansion, for to me the light
    Of yonder torches altogether seems
    His own, an emanation from his head,
    Which not the smallest growth of hair obscures.
      He ended; and the city-waster Chief
    Himself accosted next. Art thou disposed
    To serve me, friend! would I afford thee hire,
    A labourer at my farm? thou shalt not want
    Sufficient wages; thou may'st there collect                      440
    Stones for my fences, and may'st plant my oaks,
    For which I would supply thee all the year
    With food, and cloaths, and sandals for thy feet.
    But thou hast learn'd less creditable arts,
    Nor hast a will to work, preferring much
    By beggary from others to extort
    Wherewith to feed thy never-sated maw.
      Then answer, thus, Ulysses wise return'd.
    Forbear, Eurymachus; for were we match'd
    In work against each other, thou and I,                          450
    Mowing in spring-time, when the days are long,
    I with my well-bent sickle in my hand,
    Thou arm'd with one as keen, for trial sake
    Of our ability to toil unfed
    Till night, grass still sufficing for the proof.--
    Or if, again, it were our task to drive
    Yoked oxen of the noblest breed, sleek-hair'd,
    Big-limb'd, both batten'd to the full with grass,
    Their age and aptitude for work the same
    Not soon to be fatigued, and were the field                      460
    In size four acres, with a glebe through which
    The share might smoothly slide, then should'st thou see
    How strait my furrow should be cut and true.--
    Or should Saturnian Jove this day excite
    Here, battle, or elsewhere, and were I arm'd
    With two bright spears and with a shield, and bore
    A brazen casque well-fitted to my brows,
    Me, then, thou should'st perceive mingling in fight
    Amid the foremost Chiefs, nor with the crime
    Of idle beggary should'st upbraid me more.                       470
    But thou art much a railer, one whose heart
    Pity moves not, and seem'st a mighty man
    And valiant to thyself, only because
    Thou herd'st with few, and those of little worth.
    But should Ulysses come, at his own isle
    Again arrived, wide as these portals are,
    To thee, at once, too narrow they should seem
    To shoot thee forth with speed enough abroad.
      He ceased--then tenfold indignation fired
    Eurymachus; he furrow'd deep his brow                            480
    With frowns, and in wing'd accents thus replied.
      Wretch, I shall roughly handle thee anon,
    Who thus with fluent prate presumptuous dar'st
    Disturb this num'rous company, restrain'd
    By no respect or fear. Either thou art
    With wine intoxicated, or, perchance,
    Art always fool, and therefore babblest now;
    Or thou art frantic haply with delight
    That thou hast foil'd yon vagabond obscure.
      So saying, he seized a stool; but to the knees                 490
    Ulysses flew of the Dulichian Prince
    Amphinomus, and sat, fearing incensed
    Eurymachus; he on his better hand
    Smote full the cup-bearer; on the hall-floor
    Loud rang the fallen beaker, and himself
    Lay on his back clamouring in the dust.
    Strait through the dusky hall tumult ensued
    Among the suitors, of whom thus, a youth,
    With eyes directed to the next, exclaim'd.
      Would that this rambling stranger had elsewhere                500
    Perish'd, or ever he had here arrived,
    Then no such uproar had he caused as this!
    This doth the beggar; he it is for whom
    We wrangle thus, and may despair of peace
    Or pleasure more; now look for strife alone.
      Then in the midst Telemachus upstood
    Majestic, and the suitors thus bespake.
    Sirs! ye are mad, and can no longer eat
    Or drink in peace; some dæmon troubles you.
    But since ye all have feasted, to your homes                     510
    Go now, and, at your pleasure, to your beds;
    Soonest were best, but I thrust no man hence.
      He ceased; they gnawing stood their lips, aghast
    With wonder that Telemachus in his speech
    Such boldness used. Then rose Amphinomus,
    Brave son of Nisus offspring of the King
    Aretus, and the assembly thus address'd.
      My friends! let none with contradiction thwart
    And rude reply words rational and just;
    Assault no more the stranger, nor of all                         520
    The servants of renown'd Ulysses here
    Harm any. Come. Let the cup-bearer fill
    To all, that due libation made, to rest
    We may repair at home, leaving the Prince
    To accommodate beneath his father's roof
    The stranger, for he is the Prince's guest.
      He ended, whose advice none disapproved.
    The Hero Mulius then, Dulichian-born,
    And herald of Amphinomus, the cup
    Filling, dispensed it, as he stood, to all;                      530
    They, pouring forth to the Immortals, quaff'd
    The luscious bev'rage, and when each had made
    Libation, and such measure as he would
    Of wine had drunk, then all to rest retired.


FOOTNOTES:

[79] Tradition says that Echetus, for a love-affair, condemned his
daughter to lose her eyes, and to grind iron barley-grains, while her
lover was doomed to suffer what Antinoüs threatens to Irus. F.

[80] This seems the sort of laughter intended by the word Αχρειον.

[81] From Iäsus, once King of Peloponnesus.




BOOK XIX

ARGUMENT

Ulysses and Telemachus remove the arms from the hall to an upper-chamber.
The Hero then confers with Penelope, to whom he gives a fictitious
narrative of his adventures. Euryclea, while bathing Ulysses, discovers
him by a scar on his knee, but he prevents her communication of that
discovery to Penelope.


    They went, but left the noble Chief behind
    In his own house, contriving by the aid
    Of Pallas, the destruction of them all,
    And thus, in accents wing'd, again he said.
      My son! we must remove and safe dispose
    All these my well-forged implements of war;
    And should the suitors, missing them, enquire
    Where are they? thou shalt answer smoothly thus--
    I have convey'd them from the reach of smoke,
    For they appear no more the same which erst                       10
    Ulysses, going hence to Ilium, left,
    So smirch'd and sullied by the breath of fire.
    This weightier reason (thou shalt also say)
    Some God suggested to me,--lest, inflamed
    With wine, ye wound each other in your brawls,
    Shaming both feast and courtship; for the view
    Itself of arms incites to their abuse.
      He ceased, and, in obedience to his will,
    Calling the ancient Euryclea forth,
    His nurse, Telemachus enjoin'd her thus.                          20
      Go--shut the women in; make fast the doors
    Of their apartment, while I safe dispose
    Elsewhere, my father's implements of war,
    Which, during his long absence, here have stood
    Till smoke hath sullied them. For I have been
    An infant hitherto, but, wiser grown,
    Would now remove them from the breath of fire.
      Then thus the gentle matron in return.
    Yes truly--and I wish that now, at length,
    Thou would'st assert the privilege of thy years,                  30
    My son, thyself assuming charge of all,
    Both house and stores; but who shall bear the light?
    Since they, it seems, who would, are all forbidden.
      To whom Telemachus discrete replied.
    This guest; for no man, from my table fed,
    Come whence he may; shall be an idler here.
      He ended, nor his words flew wing'd away,
    But Euryclea bolted every door.
    Then, starting to the task, Ulysses caught,
    And his illustrious son, the weapons thence,                      40
    Helmet, and bossy shield, and pointed spear,
    While Pallas from a golden lamp illumed
    The dusky way before them. At that sight
    Alarm'd, the Prince his father thus address'd.
      Whence--whence is this, my father? I behold
    A prodigy! the walls of the whole house,
    The arches, fir-tree beams, and pillars tall
    Shine in my view, as with the blaze of fire!
    Some Pow'r celestial, doubtless, is within.
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.                            50
    Soft! ask no questions. Give no vent to thought,
    Such is the custom of the Pow'rs divine.
    Hence, thou, to bed. I stay, that I may yet
    Both in thy mother and her maidens move
    More curiosity; yes--she with tears
    Shall question me of all that I have seen.
      He ended, and the Prince, at his command,
    Guided by flaming torches, sought the couch
    Where he was wont to sleep, and there he slept
    On that night also, waiting the approach                          60
    Of sacred dawn. Thus was Ulysses left
    Alone, and planning sat in solitude,
    By Pallas' aid, the slaughter of his foes.
      At length, Diana-like, or like herself,
    All golden Venus, (her apartment left)
    Enter'd Penelope. Beside the hearth
    Her women planted her accustom'd seat
    With silver wreathed and ivory. That throne
    Icmalius made, artist renown'd, and join'd
    A footstool to its splendid frame beneath,                        70
    Which ever with an ample fleece they spread.
    There sat discrete Penelope; then came
    Her beautiful attendants from within,
    Who cleared the litter'd bread, the board, and cups
    From which the insolent companions drank.
    They also raked the embers from the hearths
    Now dim, and with fresh billets piled them high,
    Both for illumination and for warmth.
    Then yet again Melantho with rude speech
    Opprobrious, thus, assail'd Ulysses' ear.                         80
      Guest--wilt thou trouble us throughout the night
    Ranging the house? and linger'st thou a spy
    Watching the women? Hence--get thee abroad
    Glad of such fare as thou hast found, or soon
    With torches beaten we will thrust thee forth.
      To whom Ulysses, frowning stern, replied.
    Petulant woman! wherefore thus incensed
    Inveigh'st thou against me? is it because
    I am not sleek? because my garb is mean?
    Because I beg? thanks to necessity--                              90
    I would not else. But such as I appear,
    Such all who beg and all who wander are.
    I also lived the happy owner once
    Of such a stately mansion, and have giv'n
    To num'rous wand'rers, whencesoe'er they came,
    All that they needed; I was also served
    By many, and enjoy'd all that denotes
    The envied owner opulent and blest.
    But Jove (for so it pleas'd him) hath reduced
    My all to nothing. Therefore well beware                         100
    Thou also, mistress, lest a day arrive
    When all these charms by which thou shin'st among
    Thy sister-menials, fade; fear, too, lest her
    Thou should'st perchance irritate, whom thou serv'st,
    And lest Ulysses come, of whose return
    Hope yet survives; but even though the Chief
    Have perish'd, as ye think, and comes no more,
    Consider yet his son, how bright the gifts
    Shine of Apollo in the illustrious Prince
    Telemachus; no woman, unobserved                                 110
    By him, can now commit a trespass here;
    His days of heedless infancy are past.
      He ended, whom Penelope discrete
    O'erhearing, her attendant sharp rebuked.
      Shameless, audacious woman! known to me
    Is thy great wickedness, which with thy life
    Thou shalt atone; for thou wast well aware,
    (Hearing it from myself) that I design'd
    To ask this stranger of my absent Lord,
    For whose dear sake I never cease to mourn.                      120
      Then to her household's governess she said.
    Bring now a seat, and spread it with a fleece,
    Eurynome! that, undisturb'd, the guest
    May hear and answer all that I shall ask.
      She ended. Then the matron brought in haste
    A polish'd seat, and spread it with a fleece,
    On which the toil-accustom'd Hero sat,
    And thus the chaste Penelope began.
      Stranger! my first enquiry shall be this--
    Who art thou? whence? where born? and sprung from whom?          130
      Then answer thus Ulysses, wise, return'd.
    O Queen! uncensurable by the lips
    Of mortal man! thy glory climbs the skies
    Unrivall'd, like the praise of some great King
    Who o'er a num'rous people and renown'd
    Presiding like a Deity, maintains
    Justice and truth. The earth, under his sway,
    Her produce yields abundantly; the trees
    Fruit-laden bend; the lusty flocks bring forth;
    The Ocean teems with finny swarms beneath                        140
    His just controul, and all the land is blest.
    Me therefore, question of what else thou wilt
    In thy own palace, but forbear to ask
    From whom I sprang, and of my native land,
    Lest thou, reminding me of those sad themes,
    Augment my woes; for I have much endured;
    Nor were it seemly, in another's house,
    To pass the hours in sorrow and in tears,
    Wearisome when indulg'd with no regard
    To time or place; thy train (perchance thyself)                  150
    Would blame me, and I should reproach incur
    As one tear-deluged through excess of wine.
      Him answer'd then Penelope discrete.
    The immortal Gods, O stranger, then destroy'd
    My form, my grace, my beauty, when the Greeks
    Whom my Ulysses follow'd, sail'd to Troy.
    Could he, returning, my domestic charge
    Himself intend, far better would my fame
    Be so secured, and wider far diffused.
    But I am wretched now, such storms of woe                        160
    The Gods have sent me; for as many Chiefs
    As hold dominion in the neighbour isles
    Samos, Dulichium, and the forest-crown'd
    Zacynthus; others, also, rulers here
    In pleasant Ithaca, me, loth to wed,
    Woo ceaseless, and my household stores consume.
    I therefore, neither guest nor suppliant heed,
    Nor public herald more, but with regret
    Of my Ulysses wear my soul away.
    They, meantime, press my nuptials, which by art                  170
    I still procrastinate. Some God the thought
    Suggested to me, to commence a robe
    Of amplest measure and of subtlest woof,
    Laborious task; which done, I thus address'd them.
    Princes, my suitors! since the noble Chief
    Ulysses is no more, enforce not now
    My nuptials; wait till I shall finish first
    A fun'ral robe (lest all my threads be marr'd)
    Which for the ancient Hero I prepare
    Laertes, looking for the mournful hour                           180
    When fate shall snatch him to eternal rest.
    Else, I the censure dread of all my sex,
    Should he, so wealthy, want at last a shroud.
    Such was my speech; they, unsuspicious all,
    With my request complied. Thenceforth, all day
    I wove the ample web, and, by the aid
    Of torches, ravell'd it again at night.
    Three years by artifice I thus their suit
    Eluded safe; but when the fourth arrived,
    And the same season after many moons                             190
    And fleeting days return'd, passing my train
    Who had neglected to release the dogs,
    They came, surprized and reprimanded me.
    Thus, through necessity, not choice, at last
    I have perform'd it, in my own despight.
    But no escape from marriage now remains,
    Nor other subterfuge for me; meantime
    My parents urge my nuptials, and my son
    (Of age to note it) with disgust observes
    His wealth consumed; for he is now become                        200
    Adult, and abler than myself to rule
    The house, a Prince distinguish'd by the Gods,
    Yet, stranger, after all, speak thy descent;
    Say whence thou art; for not of fabulous birth
    Art thou, nor from the oak, nor from the rock.
      Her answer'd then Ulysses, ever-wise.
    O spouse revered of Laertiades!
    Resolv'st thou still to learn from whom I sprang?
    Learn then; but know that thou shalt much augment
    My present grief, natural to a man                               210
    Who hath, like me, long exiled from his home
    Through various cities of the sons of men
    Wander'd remote, and num'rous woes endured.
    Yet, though it pain me, I will tell thee all.
      There is a land amid the sable flood
    Call'd Crete; fair, fruitful, circled by the sea.
    Num'rous are her inhabitants, a race
    Not to be summ'd, and ninety towns she boasts.
    Diverse their language is; Achaians some,
    And some indigenous are; Cydonians there,                        220
    Crest-shaking Dorians, and Pelasgians dwell.
    One city in extent the rest exceeds,
    Cnossus; the city in which Minos reign'd,
    Who, ever at a nine years' close, conferr'd
    With Jove himself; from him my father sprang
    The brave Deucalion; for Deucalion's sons
    Were two, myself and King Idomeneus.
    To Ilium he, on board his gallant barks,
    Follow'd the Atridæ. I, the youngest-born,
    By my illustrious name, Æthon, am known,                         230
    But he ranks foremost both in worth and years.
    There I beheld Ulysses, and within
    My walls receiv'd him; for a violent wind
    Had driv'n him from Malea (while he sought
    The shores of Troy) to Crete. The storm his barks
    Bore into the Amnisus, for the cave
    Of Ilythia known, a dang'rous port,
    And which with difficulty he attain'd.
    He, landing, instant to the city went,
    Seeking Idomeneus; his friend of old,                            240
    As he affirm'd, and one whom much he lov'd.
    But _he_ was far remote, ten days advanced,
    Perhaps eleven, on his course to Troy.
    Him, therefore, I conducted to my home,
    Where hospitably, and with kindest care
    I entertain'd him, (for I wanted nought)
    And for himself procured and for his band,--
    By public contribution, corn, and wine,
    And beeves for food, that all might be sufficed.
    Twelve days his noble Greecians there abode,                     250
    Port-lock'd by Boreas blowing with a force
    Resistless even on the land, some God
    So roused his fury; but the thirteenth day
    The wind all fell, and they embark'd again.
      With many a fiction specious, as he sat,
    He thus her ear amused; she at the sound
    Melting, with fluent tears her cheeks bedew'd;
    And as the snow by Zephyrus diffused,
    Melts on the mountain tops, when Eurus breathes,
    And fills the channels of the running streams,                   260
    So melted she, and down her lovely cheeks
    Pour'd fast the tears, him mourning as remote
    Who sat beside her. Soft compassion touch'd
    Ulysses of his consort's silent woe;
    His eyes as they had been of steel or horn,
    Moved not, yet artful, he suppress'd his tears,
    And she, at length with overflowing grief
    Satiate, replied, and thus enquired again.
      Now, stranger, I shall prove thee, as I judge,
    If thou, indeed, hast entertain'd in Crete                       270
    My spouse and his brave followers, as thou say'st.
    Describe his raiment and himself; his own
    Appearance, and the appearance of his friends.
      Then her Ulysses answer'd, ever-wise.
    Hard is the task, O Queen! (so long a time
    Hath since elaps'd) to tell thee. Twenty years
    Have pass'd since he forsook my native isle,
    Yet, from my best remembrance, I will give
    A likeness of him, such as now I may.
    A double cloak, thick-piled, Mœonian dyed,                       280
    The noble Chief had on; two fast'nings held
    The golden clasp, and it display'd in front
    A well-wrought pattern with much art design'd.
    An hound between his fore-feet holding fast
    A dappled fawn, gaped eager on his prey.
    All wonder'd, seeing, how in lifeless gold
    Express'd, the dog with open mouth her throat
    Attempted still, and how the fawn with hoofs
    Thrust trembling forward, struggled to escape.
    That glorious mantle much I noticed, soft                        290
    To touch, as the dried garlick's glossy film;
    Such was the smoothness of it, and it shone
    Sun-bright; full many a maiden, trust me, view'd
    The splendid texture with admiring eyes.
    But mark me now; deep treasure in thy mind
    This word. I know not if Ulysses wore
    That cloak at home, or whether of his train
    Some warrior gave it to him on his way,
    Or else some host of his; for many loved
    Ulysses, and with him might few compare.                         300
    I gave to him, myself, a brazen sword,
    A purple cloak magnificent, and vest
    Of royal length, and when he sought his bark,
    With princely pomp dismiss'd him from the shore.
    An herald also waited on the Chief,
    Somewhat his Senior; him I next describe.
    His back was bunch'd, his visage swarthy, curl'd
    His poll, and he was named Eurybates;
    A man whom most of all his followers far
    Ulysses honour'd, for their minds were one.                      310
      He ceased; she recognising all the proofs
    Distinctly by Ulysses named, was moved
    Still more to weep, till with o'erflowing grief
    Satiate, at length she answer'd him again.
      Henceforth, O stranger, thou who hadst before
    My pity, shalt my rev'rence share and love,
    I folded for him (with these hands) the cloak
    Which thou describ'st, produced it when he went,
    And gave it to him; I that splendid clasp
    Attach'd to it myself, more to adorn                             320
    My honour'd Lord, whom to his native land
    Return'd secure I shall receive no more.
    In such an evil hour Ulysses went
    To that bad city never to be named.
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    Consort revered of Laertiades!
    No longer let anxiety impair
    Thy beauteous form, nor any grief consume
    Thy spirits more for thy Ulysses' sake.
    And yet I blame thee not; a wife deprived                        330
    Of her first mate to whom she had produced
    Fair fruit of mutual love, would mourn his loss,
    Although he were inferior far to thine,
    Whom fame affirms the semblance of the Gods.
    But cease to mourn. Hear me. I will relate
    A faithful tale, nor will from thee withhold
    Such tidings of Ulysses living still,
    And of his safe return, as I have heard
    Lately, in yon neighb'ring opulent land
    Of the Thesprotians. He returns enrich'd                         340
    With many precious stores from those obtain'd
    Whom he hath visited; but he hath lost,
    Departing from Thrinacia's isle, his bark
    And all his lov'd companions in the Deep,
    For Jove was adverse to him, and the Sun,
    Whose beeves his followers slew. They perish'd all
    Amid the billowy flood; but Him, the keel
    Bestriding of his bark, the waves at length
    Cast forth on the Phæacian's land, a race
    Allied to heav'n, who rev'renced like a God                      350
    Thy husband, honour'd him with num'rous gifts,
    And willing were to have convey'd him home.
    Ulysses, therefore, had attained long since
    His native shore, but that he deem'd it best
    To travel far, that he might still amass
    More wealth; so much Ulysses all mankind
    Excels in policy, and hath no peer.
    This information from Thesprotia's King
    I gain'd, from Phidon; to myself he swore,
    Libation off'ring under his own roof,                            360
    That both the bark was launch'd, and the stout crew
    Prepared, that should conduct him to his home.
    But me he first dismiss'd; for, as it chanced,
    A ship lay there of the Thesprotians, bound
    To corn-enrich'd Dulichium. All the wealth
    He shew'd me by the Chief amass'd, a store
    To feed the house of yet another Prince
    To the tenth generation; so immense
    His treasures were within that palace lodg'd.
    Himself he said was to Dodona gone,                              370
    Counsel to ask from the oracular oaks
    Sublime of Jove, how safest he might seek,
    After long exile thence, his native land,
    If openly were best, or in disguise.
    Thus, therefore, he is safe, and at his home
    Well-nigh arrived, nor shall his country long
    Want him. I swear it with a solemn oath.
    First Jove be witness, King and Lord of all!
    Next these domestic Gods of the renown'd
    Ulysses, in whose royal house I sit,                             380
    That thou shalt see my saying all fulfill'd.
    Ulysses shall this self-same year return,
    This self-same month, ere yet the next begin.
      Him answer'd then Penelope discrete.
    Grant heav'n, my guest, that this good word of thine
    Fail not! then, soon shalt thou such bounty share
    And friendship at my hands, that, at first sight,
    Whoe'er shall meet thee shall pronounce thee blest.
    But ah! my soul forebodes how it will prove;
    Neither Ulysses will return, nor thou                            390
    Receive safe conduct hence; for we have here
    None, such as once Ulysses was, to rule
    His household with authority, and to send
    With honourable convoy to his home
    The worthy guest, or to regale him here.
    Give him the bath, my maidens; spread his couch
    With linen soft, with fleecy gaberdines[82]
    And rugs of splendid hue, that he may lie
    Waiting, well-warm'd, the golden morn's return.
    Attend him also at the peep of day                               400
    With bath and unction, that, his seat resumed
    Here in the palace, he may be prepared
    For breakfast with Telemachus; and woe
    To him who shall presume to incommode
    Or cause him pain; that man shall be cashier'd
    Hence instant, burn his anger as it may.
    For how, my honour'd inmate! shalt thou learn
    That I in wisdom œconomic aught
    Pass other women, if unbathed, unoiled,
    Ill-clad, thou sojourn here? man's life is short,                410
    Whoso is cruel, and to cruel arts
    Addict, on him all men, while yet he lives,
    Call plagues and curses down, and after death
    Scorn and proverbial mock'ries hunt his name.
    But men, humane themselves, and giv'n by choice
    To offices humane, from land to land
    Are rumour'd honourably by their guests,
    And ev'ry tongue is busy in their praise.
      Her answer'd then, Ulysses, ever-wise.
    Consort revered of Laertiades!                                   420
    Warm gaberdines and rugs of splendid hue
    To me have odious been, since first the sight
    Of Crete's snow-mantled mountain-tops I lost,
    Sweeping the billows with extended oars.
    No; I will pass, as I am wont to pass
    The sleepless night; for on a sordid couch
    Outstretch'd, full many a night have I reposed
    Till golden-charioted Aurora dawn'd.
    Nor me the foot-bath pleases more; my foot
    Shall none of all thy ministring maidens touch,                  430
    Unless there be some ancient matron grave
    Among them, who hath pangs of heart endured
    Num'rous, and keen as I have felt myself;
    Her I refuse not. She may touch my feet.
      Him answer'd then prudent Penelope.
    Dear guest! for of all trav'llers here arrived
    From distant regions, I have none received
    Discrete as thou, or whom I more have lov'd,
    So just thy matter is, and with such grace
    Express'd. I have an ancient maiden grave,                       440
    The nurse who at my hapless husband's birth
    Receiv'd him in her arms, and with kind care
    Maternal rear'd him; she shall wash thy feet,
    Although decrepid. Euryclea, rise!
    Wash one coeval with thy Lord; for such
    The feet and hands, it may be, are become
    Of my Ulysses now; since man beset
    With sorrow once, soon wrinkled grows and old.
      She said, then Euryclea with both hands
    Cov'ring her face, in tepid tears profuse                        450
    Dissolved, and thus in mournful strains began.
      Alas! my son, trouble for thy dear sake
    Distracts me. Jove surely of all mankind
    Thee hated most, though ever in thy heart
    Devoutly giv'n; for never mortal man
    So many thighs of fatted victims burn'd,
    And chosen hecatombs produced as thou
    To Jove the Thund'rer, him entreating still
    That he would grant thee a serene old age,
    And to instruct, thyself, thy glorious son.                      460
    Yet thus the God requites thee, cutting off
    All hope of thy return--oh ancient sir!
    Him too, perchance, where'er he sits a guest
    Beneath some foreign roof, the women taunt,
    As all these shameless ones have taunted thee,
    Fearing whose mock'ry thou forbidd'st their hands
    This office, which Icarius' daughter wise
    To me enjoins, and which I, glad perform.
    Yes, I will wash thy feet; both for her sake
    And for thy own,--for sight of thee hath raised                  470
    A tempest in my mind. Hear now the cause!
    Full many a guest forlorn we entertain,
    But never any have I seen, whose size,
    The fashion of whose foot and pitch of voice,
    Such likeness of Ulysses show'd, as thine.
      To whom Ulysses, ever-shrewd, replied.
    Such close similitude, O ancient dame!
    As thou observ'st between thy Lord and me,
    All, who have seen us both, have ever found.
      He said; then taking the resplendent vase                      480
    Allotted always to that use, she first
    Infused cold water largely, then, the warm.
    Ulysses (for beside the hearth he sat)
    Turn'd quick his face into the shade, alarm'd
    Lest, handling him, she should at once remark
    His scar, and all his stratagem unveil.
    She then, approaching, minister'd the bath
    To her own King, and at first touch discern'd
    That token, by a bright-tusk'd boar of old
    Impress'd, what time he to Parnassus went                        490
    To visit there Autolycus and his sons,
    His mother's noble sire, who all mankind
    In furtive arts and fraudful oaths excell'd.[83]
    For such endowments he by gift receiv'd
    From Hermes' self, to whom the thighs of kids
    He offer'd and of lambs, and, in return,
    The watchful Hermes never left his side.
    Autolycus arriving in the isle
    Of pleasant Ithaca, the new-born son
    Of his own daughter found, whom on his knees                     500
    At close of supper Euryclea placed,
    And thus the royal visitant address'd.
      Thyself, Autolycus! devise a name
    For thy own daughter's son, by num'rous pray'rs
    Of thine and fervent, from the Gods obtained.
      Then answer thus Autolycus return'd.
    My daughter and my daughter's spouse! the name
    Which I shall give your boy, that let him bear.
    Since after provocation and offence
    To numbers giv'n of either sex, I come,                          510
    Call him Ulysses;[84] and when, grown mature,
    He shall Parnassus visit, the abode
    Magnificent in which his mother dwelt,
    And where my treasures lie, from my own stores
    I will enrich and send him joyful home.
      Ulysses, therefore, that he might obtain
    Those princely gifts, went thither. Him arrived,
    With right-hand gratulation and with words
    Of welcome kind, Autolycus received,
    Nor less his offspring; but the mother most                      520
    Of his own mother clung around his neck,
    Amphithea; she with many a fervent kiss
    His forehead press'd, and his bright-beaming eyes.
    Then bade Autolycus his noble sons
    Set forth a banquet. They, at his command,
    Led in a fatted ox of the fifth year,
    Which slaying first, they spread him carved abroad,
    Then scored his flesh, transfixed it with the spits,
    And roasting all with culinary skill
    Exact, gave each his portion. Thus they sat                      530
    Feasting all day, and till the sun declined,
    But when the sun declined, and darkness fell,
    Each sought his couch, and took the gift of sleep.
    Then, soon as day-spring's daughter rosy-palm'd
    Aurora look'd abroad, forth went the hounds,
    And, with the hounds Ulysses, and the youths,
    Sons of Autolycus, to chase the boar.
    Arrived at the Parnassian mount, they climb'd
    His bushy sides, and to his airy heights
    Ere long attain'd. It was the pleasant hour                      540
    When from the gently-swelling flood profound
    The sun, emerging, first smote on the fields.
    The hunters reach'd the valley; foremost ran,
    Questing, the hounds; behind them, swift, the sons
    Came of Autolycus, with whom advanced
    The illustrious Prince Ulysses, pressing close
    The hounds, and brandishing his massy spear.
    There, hid in thickest shades, lay an huge boar.
    That covert neither rough winds blowing moist
    Could penetrate, nor could the noon-day sun                      550
    Smite through it, or fast-falling show'rs pervade,
    So thick it was, and underneath the ground
    With litter of dry foliage strew'd profuse.
    Hunters and dogs approaching him, his ear
    The sound of feet perceived; upridging high
    His bristly back and glaring fire, he sprang
    Forth from the shrubs, and in defiance stood
    Near and right opposite. Ulysses, first,
    Rush'd on him, elevating his long spear
    Ardent to wound him; but, preventing quick                       560
    His foe, the boar gash'd him above the knee.
    Much flesh, assailing him oblique, he tore
    With his rude tusk, but to the Hero's bone
    Pierced not; Ulysses _his_ right shoulder reach'd;
    And with a deadly thrust impell'd the point
    Of his bright spear through him and far beyond.
    Loud yell'd the boar, sank in the dust, and died.
    Around Ulysses, then, the busy sons
    Throng'd of Autolycus; expert they braced
    The wound of the illustrious hunter bold,                        570
    With incantation staunched the sable blood,
    And sought in haste their father's house again,
    Whence, heal'd and gratified with splendid gifts
    They sent him soon rejoicing to his home,
    Themselves rejoicing also. Glad their son
    His parents saw again, and of the scar
    Enquired, where giv'n, and how? He told them all,
    How to Parnassus with his friends he went,
    Sons of Autolycus to hunt, and how
    A boar had gash'd him with his iv'ry tusk.                       580
      That scar, while chafing him with open palms,
    The matron knew; she left his foot to fall;
    Down dropp'd his leg into the vase; the brass
    Rang, and o'ertilted by the sudden shock,
    Poured forth the water, flooding wide the floor.
    _Her_ spirit joy at once and sorrow seized;
    Tears fill'd her eyes; her intercepted voice
    Died in her throat; but to Ulysses' beard
    Her hand advancing, thus, at length, she spake.
      Thou art himself, Ulysses. Oh my son!                          590
    Dear to me, and my master as thou art,
    I knew thee not, till I had touch'd the scar.
      She said, and to Penelope her eyes
    Directed, all impatient to declare
    Her own Ulysses even then at home.
    But she, nor eye nor ear for aught that pass'd
    Had then, her fixt attention so entire
    Minerva had engaged. Then, darting forth
    His arms, the Hero with his right-hand close
    Compress'd her throat, and nearer to himself                     600
    Drawing her with his left, thus caution'd her.
      Why would'st thou ruin me? Thou gav'st me milk
    Thyself from thy own breast. See me return'd
    After long suff'rings, in the twentieth year,
    To my own land. But since (some God the thought
    Suggesting to thee) thou hast learn'd the truth,
    Silence! lest others learn it from thy lips.
    For this I say, nor shall the threat be vain;
    If God vouchsafe to me to overcome
    The haughty suitors, when I shall inflict                        610
    Death on the other women of my house,
    Although my nurse, thyself shalt also die.
      Him answer'd Euryclea then, discrete.
    My son! oh how could so severe a word
    Escape thy lips? my fortitude of mind
    Thou know'st, and even now shalt prove me firm
    As iron, secret as the stubborn rock.
    But hear and mark me well. Should'st thou prevail,
    Assisted by a Pow'r divine, to slay
    The haughty suitors, I will then, myself,                        620
    Give thee to know of all the female train
    Who have dishonour'd thee, and who respect.
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    My nurse, it were superfluous; spare thy tongue
    That needless task. I can distinguish well
    Myself, between them, and shall know them all;
    But hold thy peace. Hush! leave it with the Gods.
      So he; then went the ancient matron forth,
    That she might serve him with a second bath,
    For the whole first was spilt. Thus, laved at length,            630
    And smooth'd with oil, Ulysses nearer pull'd
    His seat toward the glowing hearth to enjoy
    More warmth, and drew his tatters o'er the scar.
    Then, prudent, thus Penelope began.
      One question, stranger, I shall yet propound,
    Though brief, for soon the hour of soft repose
    Grateful to all, and even to the sad
    Whom gentle sleep forsakes not, will arrive.
    But heav'n to me immeasurable woe
    Assigns,--whose sole delight is to consume                       640
    My days in sighs, while here retired I sit,
    Watching my maidens' labours and my own;
    But (night return'd, and all to bed retired)
    I press mine also, yet with deep regret
    And anguish lacerated, even there.
    As when at spring's first entrance, her sweet song
    The azure-crested nightingale renews,
    Daughter of Pandarus; within the grove's
    Thick foliage perch'd, she pours her echoing voice
    Now deep, now clear, still varying the strain                    650
    With which she mourns her Itylus, her son
    By royal Zethus, whom she, erring, slew,[85]
    So also I, by soul-distressing doubts
    Toss'd ever, muse if I shall here remain
    A faithful guardian of my son's affairs,
    My husband's bed respecting, and not less
    My own fair fame, or whether I shall him
    Of all my suitors follow to his home
    Who noblest seems, and offers richest dow'r.
    My son while he was infant yet, and own'd                        660
    An infant's mind, could never give consent
    That I should wed and leave him; but at length,
    Since he hath reached the stature of a man,
    He wishes my departure hence, the waste
    Viewing indignant by the suitors made.
    But I have dream'd. Hear, and expound my dream.
    My geese are twenty, which within my walls
    I feed with sodden wheat; they serve to amuse
    Sometimes my sorrow. From the mountains came
    An eagle, huge, hook-beak'd, brake all their necks,              670
    And slew them; scatter'd on the palace-floor
    They lay, and he soar'd swift into the skies.
    Dream only as it was, I wept aloud,
    Till all my maidens, gather'd by my voice,
    Arriving, found me weeping still, and still
    Complaining, that the eagle had at once
    Slain all my geese. But, to the palace-roof
    Stooping again, he sat, and with a voice
    Of human sound, forbad my tears, and said--
      Courage! O daughter of the far-renown'd                        680
    Icarius! no vain dream thou hast beheld,
    But, in thy sleep, a truth. The slaughter'd geese
    Denote thy suitors. I who have appear'd
    An eagle in thy sight, am yet indeed
    Thy husband, who have now, at last, return'd,
    Death, horrid death designing for them all.
      He said; then waking at the voice, I cast
    An anxious look around, and saw my geese
    Beside their tray, all feeding as before.
      Her then Ulysses answer'd, ever-wise.                          690
    O Queen! it is not possible to miss
    Thy dream's plain import, since Ulysses' self
    Hath told thee the event; thy suitors all
    Must perish; not one suitor shall escape.
      To whom Penelope discrete replied.
    Dreams are inexplicable, O my guest!
    And oft-times mere delusions that receive
    No just accomplishment. There are two gates
    Through which the fleeting phantoms pass; of horn
    Is one, and one of ivory.[86] Such dreams                        700
    As through the thin-leaf'd iv'ry portal come
    Sooth, but perform not, utt'ring empty sounds;
    But such as through the polish'd horn escape,
    If, haply seen by any mortal eye,
    Prove faithful witnesses, and are fulfill'd.
    But through those gates my wond'rous dream, I think,
    Came not; thrice welcome were it else to me
    And to my son. Now mark my words; attend.
    This is the hated morn that from the house
    Removes me of Ulysses. I shall fix,                              710
    This day, the rings for trial to them all
    Of archership; Ulysses' custom was
    To plant twelve spikes, all regular arranged[87]
    Like galley-props, and crested with a ring,
    Then standing far remote, true in his aim
    He with his whizzing shaft would thrid them all.
    This is the contest in which now I mean
    To prove the suitors; him, who with most ease
    Shall bend the bow, and shoot through all the rings,
    I follow, this dear mansion of my youth                          720
    Leaving, so fair, so fill'd with ev'ry good,
    Though still to love it even in my dreams.
      Her answer'd then Ulysses, ever-wise.
    Consort revered of Laertiades!
    Postpone not this contention, but appoint
    Forthwith the trial; for Ulysses here
    Will sure arrive, ere they, (his polish'd bow
    Long tamp'ring) shall prevail to stretch the nerve,
    And speed the arrow through the iron rings.
      To whom Penelope replied discrete.                             730
    Would'st thou with thy sweet converse, O my guest!
    Here sooth me still, sleep ne'er should influence
    These eyes the while; but always to resist
    Sleep's pow'r is not for man, to whom the Gods
    Each circumstance of his condition here
    Fix universally. Myself will seek
    My own apartment at the palace-top,
    And there will lay me down on my sad couch,
    For such it hath been, and with tears of mine
    Ceaseless bedew'd, e'er since Ulysses went                       740
    To that bad city, never to be named.
    There will I sleep; but sleep thou here below,
    Either, thyself, preparing on the ground
    Thy couch, or on a couch by these prepared.
      So saying, she to her splendid chamber thence
    Retired, not sole, but by her female train
    Attended; there arrived, she wept her spouse,
    Her lov'd Ulysses, till Minerva dropp'd
    The balm of slumber on her weary lids.


FOOTNOTES:

[82] A gaberdine is a shaggy cloak of coarse but warm materials. Such
always make part of Homer's bed-furniture.

[83] Homer's morals seem to allow to a good man dissimulation, and even
an ambiguous oath, should they be necessary to save him from a villain.
Thus in Book XX. Telemachus swears by Zeus, that he does not hinder his
mother from marrying whom she pleases of the wooers, though at the same
time he is plotting their destruction with his father. F.

[84] In the Greek ὈΔΥΣΣΕΥΣ from the verb ὀδυσσω--Irascor, _I am angry_.

[85] She intended to slay the son of her husband's brother Amphion,
incited to it by the envy of his wife, who had six children, while
herself had only two, but through mistake she slew her own son Itylus,
and for her punishment was transformed by Jupiter into a nightingale.

[86] The difference of the two substances may perhaps serve to account
for the preference given in this case to the gate of horn; horn being
transparent, and as such emblematical of truth, while ivory, from its
whiteness, promises light, but is, in fact, opaque. F.

[87] The translation here is somewhat pleonastic for the sake of
perspicuity; the original is clear in itself, but not to us who have no
such practice. Twelve stakes were fixt in the earth, each having a ring
at the top; the order in which they stood was so exact, that an arrow
sent with an even hand through the first ring, would pass them all.




BOOK XX

ARGUMENT

Ulysses, doubting whether he shall destroy or not the women servants who
commit lewdness with the suitors, resolves at length to spare them for
the present. He asks an omen from Jupiter, and that he would grant him
also to hear some propitious words from the lips of one in the family.
His petitions are both answered. Preparation is made for the feast.
Whilst the suitors sit at table, Pallas smites them with a horrid frenzy.
Theoclymenus, observing the strange effects of it, prophesies their
destruction, and they deride his prophecy.


    But in the vestibule the Hero lay
    On a bull's-hide undress'd, o'er which he spread
    The fleece of many a sheep slain by the Greeks,
    And, cover'd by the household's governess
    With a wide cloak, composed himself to rest.
    Yet slept he not, but meditating lay
    Woe to his enemies. Meantime, the train
    Of women, wonted to the suitors' arms,
    Issuing all mirth and laughter, in his soul
    A tempest raised of doubts, whether at once                       10
    To slay, or to permit them yet to give
    Their lusty paramours one last embrace.
    As growls the mastiff standing on the start
    For battle, if a stranger's foot approach
    Her cubs new-whelp'd--so growl'd Ulysses' heart,
    While wonder fill'd him at their impious deeds.
    But, smiting on his breast, thus he reproved
    The mutinous inhabitant within.
      Heart! bear it. Worse than this thou didst endure
    When, uncontroulable by force of man,                             20
    The Cyclops thy illustrious friends devour'd.
    Thy patience then fail'd not, till prudence found
    Deliv'rance for thee on the brink of fate.
      So disciplined the Hero his own heart,
    Which, tractable, endured the rigorous curb,
    And patient; yet he turn'd from side to side.
    As when some hungry swain turns oft a maw
    Unctuous and sav'ry on the burning coals,
    Quick expediting his desired repast,
    So he from side to side roll'd, pond'ring deep                    30
    How likeliest with success he might assail
    Those shameless suitors; one to many opposed.
    Then, sudden from the skies descending, came
    Minerva in a female form; her stand
    Above his head she took, and thus she spake.
      Why sleep'st thou not, unhappiest of mankind?
    Thou art at home; here dwells thy wife, and here
    Thy son; a son, whom all might wish their own.
      Then her Ulysses answer'd, ever-wise.
    O Goddess! true is all that thou hast said,                       40
    But, not without anxiety, I muse
    How, single as I am, I shall assail
    Those shameless suitors who frequent my courts
    Daily; and always their whole multitude.
    This weightier theme I meditate beside;
    Should I, with Jove's concurrence and with thine
    Prevail to slay them, how shall I escape,
    Myself, at last?[88] oh Goddess, weigh it well.
      Him answer'd then Pallas cærulean-eyed.
    Oh faithless man! a man will in his friend                        50
    Confide, though mortal, and in valour less
    And wisdom than himself; but I who keep
    Thee in all difficulties, am divine.
    I tell thee plainly. Were we hemm'd around
    By fifty troops of shouting warriors bent
    To slay thee, thou should'st yet securely drive
    The flocks away and cattle of them all.
    But yield to sleep's soft influence; for to lie
    All night thus watchful, is, itself, distress.
    Fear not. Deliv'rance waits, not far remote.                      60
      So saying, she o'er Ulysses' eyes diffused
    Soft slumbers, and when sleep that sooths the mind
    And nerves the limbs afresh had seized him once,
    To the Olympian summit swift return'd.
    But his chaste spouse awoke; she weeping sat
    On her soft couch, and, noblest of her sex,
    Satiate at length with tears, her pray'r address'd
    First to Diana of the Pow'rs above.
      Diana, awful progeny of Jove!
    I would that with a shaft this moment sped                        70
    Into my bosom, thou would'st here conclude
    My mournful life! or, oh that, as it flies,
    Snatching me through the pathless air, a storm
    Would whelm me deep in Ocean's restless tide!
    So, when the Gods their parents had destroy'd,
    Storms suddenly the beauteous daughters snatch'd[89]
    Of Pandarus away; them left forlorn
    Venus with curds, with honey and with wine
    Fed duly; Juno gave them to surpass
    All women in the charms of face and mind,                         80
    With graceful stature eminent the chaste
    Diana bless'd them, and in works of art
    Illustrious, Pallas taught them to excel.
    But when the foam-sprung Goddess to the skies
    A suitress went on their behalf, to obtain
    Blest nuptials for them from the Thund'rer Jove,
    (For Jove the happiness, himself, appoints,
    And the unhappiness of all below)
    Meantime, the Harpies ravishing away
    Those virgins, gave them to the Furies Three,                     90
    That they might serve them. O that me the Gods
    Inhabiting Olympus so would hide
    From human eyes for ever, or bright-hair'd
    Diana pierce me with a shaft, that while
    Ulysses yet engages all my thoughts,
    My days concluded, I might 'scape the pain
    Of gratifying some inferior Chief!
    This is supportable, when (all the day
    To sorrow giv'n) the mourner sleeps at night;
    For sleep, when it hath once the eyelids veil'd,                 100
    All reminiscence blots of all alike,
    Both good and ill; but me the Gods afflict
    Not seldom ev'n in dreams, and at my side,
    This night again, one lay resembling him;
    Such as my own Ulysses when he join'd
    Achaia's warriors; my exulting heart
    No airy dream believed it, but a truth.
      While thus she spake, in orient gold enthroned
    Came forth the morn; Ulysses, as she wept,
    Heard plain her lamentation; him that sound                      110
    Alarm'd; he thought her present, and himself
    Known to her. Gath'ring hastily the cloak
    His cov'ring, and the fleeces, them he placed
    Together on a throne within the hall,
    But bore the bull's-hide forth into the air.
    Then, lifting high his hands to Jove, he pray'd.
      Eternal Sire! if over moist and dry
    Ye have with good-will sped me to my home
    After much suff'ring, grant me from the lips
    Of some domestic now awake, to hear                              120
    Words of propitious omen, and thyself
    Vouchsafe me still some other sign abroad.
      Such pray'r he made, and Jove omniscient heard.
    Sudden he thunder'd from the radiant heights
    Olympian; glad, Ulysses heard the sound.
    A woman, next, a labourer at the mill
    Hard by, where all the palace-mills were wrought,
    Gave him the omen of propitious sound.
    Twelve maidens, day by day, toil'd at the mills,
    Meal grinding, some, of barley, some, of wheat,                  130
    Marrow of man.[90] The rest (their portion ground)
    All slept; she only from her task as yet
    Ceas'd not, for she was feeblest of them all;
    She rested on her mill, and thus pronounced
    The happy omen by her Lord desired.
      Jove, Father, Governor of heav'n and earth!
    Loud thou hast thunder'd from the starry skies
    By no cloud veil'd; a sign propitious, giv'n
    To whom I know not; but oh grant the pray'r
    Of a poor bond-woman! appoint their feast                        140
    This day, the last that in Ulysses' house
    The suitors shall enjoy, for whom I drudge,
    With aching heart and trembling knees their meal
    Grinding continual. Feast they here no more!
      She ended, and the list'ning Chief received
    With equal joy both signs; for well he hoped
    That he should punish soon those guilty men.
    And now the other maidens in the hall
    Assembling, kindled on the hearth again
    Th' unwearied blaze; then, godlike from his couch                150
    Arose Telemachus, and, fresh-attired,
    Athwart his shoulders his bright faulchion slung,
    Bound his fair sandals to his feet, and took
    His sturdy spear pointed with glitt'ring brass;
    Advancing to the portal, there he stood,
    And Euryclea thus, his nurse, bespake.
      Nurse! have ye with respectful notice serv'd
    Our guest? or hath he found a sordid couch
    E'en where he might? for, prudent though she be,
    My mother, inattentive oft, the worse                            160
    Treats kindly, and the better sends away.
      Whom Euryclea answer'd, thus, discrete.
    Blame not, my son! who merits not thy blame.
    The guest sat drinking till he would no more,
    And ate, till, question'd, he replied--Enough.
    But when the hour of sleep call'd him to rest,
    She gave commandment to her female train
    To spread his couch. Yet he, like one forlorn,
    And, through despair, indiff'rent to himself,
    Both bed and rugs refused, and in the porch                      170
    On skins of sheep and on an undress'd hide
    Reposed, where we threw cov'ring over him.
      She ceas'd, and, grasping his bright-headed spear,
    Forth went the Prince attended, as he went,
    By his fleet hounds; to the assembled Greeks
    In council with majestic gait he moved,
    And Euryclea, daughter wise of Ops,
    Pisenor's son, call'd to the serving-maids.
      Haste ye! be diligent! sweep the palace-floor
    And sprinkle it; then give the sumptuous seats                   180
    Their purple coverings. Let others cleanse
    With sponges all the tables, wash and rince
    The beakers well, and goblets rich-emboss'd;
    Run others to the fountain, and bring thence
    Water with speed. The suitors will not long
    Be absent, but will early come to-day,
    For this day is a public festival.[91]
      So she; whom all, obedient, heard; forth went
    Together, twenty to the crystal fount,
    While in their sev'ral provinces the rest                        190
    Bestirr'd them brisk at home. Then enter'd all
    The suitors, and began cleaving the wood.
    Meantime, the women from the fountain came,
    Whom soon the swine-herd follow'd, driving three
    His fattest brawns; them in the spacious court
    He feeding left, and to Ulysses' side
    Approaching, courteously bespake the Chief.
      Guest! look the Greecians on thee with respect
    At length, or still disdainful as before?
      Then, answer thus Ulysses wise return'd.                       200
    Yes--and I would that vengeance from the Gods
    Might pay their insolence, who in a house
    Not theirs, dominion exercise, and plan
    Unseemly projects, shameless as they are!
      Thus they conferr'd; and now Melanthius came
    The goat-herd, driving, with the aid of two
    His fellow-swains, the fattest of his goats
    To feast the suitors. In the sounding porch
    The goats he tied, then, drawing near, in terms
    Reproachful thus assail'd Ulysses' ear.                          210
      How, stranger? persever'st thou, begging, still
    To vex the suitors? wilt thou not depart?
    Scarce shall we settle this dispute, I judge,
    Till we have tasted each the other's fist;
    Thou art unreasonable thus to beg
    Here always--have the Greeks no feasts beside?
      He spake, to whom Ulysses answer none
    Return'd, but shook his brows, and, silent, framed
    Terrible purposes. Then, third, approach'd
    Chief o'er the herds, Philœtius; fatted goats                    220
    He for the suitors brought, with which he drove
    An heifer; (ferry-men had pass'd them o'er,
    Carriers of all who on their coast arrive)
    He tied them in the sounding porch, then stood
    Beside the swine-herd, to whom thus he said.
      Who is this guest, Eumæus, here arrived
    So lately? from what nation hath he come?
    What parentage and country boasts the man?
    I pity him, whose figure seems to speak
    Royalty in him. Heav'n will surely plunge                        230
    The race of common wand'rers deep in woe,
    If thus it destine even Kings to mourn.
      He ceas'd; and, with his right hand, drawing nigh,
    Welcom'd Ulysses, whom he thus bespake.
      Hail venerable guest! and be thy lot
    Prosp'rous at least hereafter, who art held
    At present in the bonds of num'rous ills.
    Thou, Jupiter, of all the Gods, art most
    Severe, and spar'st not to inflict distress
    Even on creatures from thyself derived.[92]                      240
    I had no sooner mark'd thee, than my eyes
    Swam, and the sweat gush'd from me at the thought
    Of dear Ulysses; for if yet he live
    And see the sun, such tatters, I suppose,
    He wears, a wand'rer among human-kind.
    But if already with the dead he dwell
    In Pluto's drear abode, oh then, alas
    For kind Ulysses! who consign'd to me,
    While yet a boy, his Cephalenian herds,
    And they have now encreas'd to such a store                      250
    Innumerable of broad-fronted beeves,
    As only care like mine could have produced.
    These, by command of others, I transport
    For their regale, who neither heed his son,
    Nor tremble at the anger of the Gods,
    But long have wish'd ardently to divide
    And share the substance of our absent Lord.
    Me, therefore, this thought occupies, and haunts
    My mind not seldom; while the heir survives
    It were no small offence to drive his herds                      260
    Afar, and migrate to a foreign land;
    Yet here to dwell, suff'ring oppressive wrongs
    While I attend another's beeves, appears
    Still less supportable; and I had fled,
    And I had served some other mighty Chief
    Long since, (for patience fails me to endure
    My present lot) but that I cherish still
    Some hope of my ill-fated Lord's return,
    To rid his palace of those lawless guests.
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.                           270
    Herdsman! since neither void of sense thou seem'st,
    Nor yet dishonest, but myself am sure
    That thou art owner of a mind discrete,
    Hear therefore, for I swear! bold I attest
    Jove and this hospitable board, and these
    The Lares[93] of the noble Chief, whose hearth
    Protects me now, that, ere thy going hence,
    Ulysses surely shall have reach'd his home,
    And thou shalt see him, if thou wilt, thyself,
    Slaying the suitors who now lord it here.                        280
      Him answer'd then the keeper of his beeves.
    Oh stranger! would but the Saturnian King
    Perform that word, thou should'st be taught (thyself
    Eye-witness of it) what an arm is mine.
      Eumæus also ev'ry power of heav'n
    Entreated, that Ulysses might possess
    His home again. Thus mutual they conferr'd.
      Meantime, in conf'rence close the suitors plann'd
    Death for Telemachus; but while they sat
    Consulting, on their left the bird of Jove                       290
    An eagle soar'd, grasping a tim'rous dove.
    Then, thus, Amphinomus the rest bespake.
      Oh friends! our consultation how to slay
    Telemachus, will never smoothly run
    To its effect; but let us to the feast.
      So spake Amphinomus, whose counsel pleased.
    Then, all into the royal house repaired,
    And on the thrones and couches throwing off
    Their mantles, slew the fatted goats, the brawns,
    The sheep full-sized, and heifer of the herd.                    300
    The roasted entrails first they shared, then fill'd
    The beakers, and the swine-herd placed the cups,
    Philœtius, chief intendant of the beeves,
    Served all with baskets elegant of bread,
    While all their cups Melanthius charged with wine,
    And they assail'd at once the ready feast.
    Meantime Telemachus, with forecast shrewd,
    Fast by the marble threshold, but within
    The spacious hall his father placed, to whom
    A sordid seat he gave and scanty board.                          310
    A portion of the entrails, next, he set
    Before him, fill'd a golden goblet high,
    And thus, in presence of them all, began.
      There seated now, drink as the suitors drink.
    I will, myself, their biting taunts forbid,
    And violence. This edifice is mine,
    Not public property; my father first
    Possess'd it, and my right from him descends.
    Suitors! controul your tongues, nor with your hands
    Offend, lest contest fierce and war ensue.                       320
      He ceas'd: they gnawing, sat, their lips, aghast
    With wonder that Telemachus in his speech
    Such boldness used. Then spake Eupithes' son,
    Antinoüs, and the assembly thus address'd.
      Let pass, ye Greeks! the language of the Prince,
    Harsh as it is, and big with threats to us.
    Had Jove permitted, his orations here,
    Although thus eloquent, ere now had ceased.
      So spake Antinoüs, whom Ulysses' son
    Heard unconcern'd. And now the heralds came                      330
    In solemn pomp, conducting through the streets
    A sacred hecatomb, when in the grove
    Umbrageous of Apollo, King shaft-arm'd,
    The assembled Greecians met. The sav'ry roast
    Finish'd, and from the spits withdrawn, each shared
    His portion of the noble feast, and such
    As they enjoy'd themselves the attendants placed
    Before Ulysses, for the Hero's son
    Himself, Telemachus, had so enjoined.
    But Pallas (that they might exasp'rate more                      340
    Ulysses) suffer'd not the suitor Chiefs
    To banquet, guiltless of heart-piercing scoffs
    Malign. There was a certain suitor named
    Ctesippus, born in Samos; base of mind
    Was he and profligate, but, in the wealth
    Confiding of his father, woo'd the wife
    Of long-exiled Ulysses. From his seat
    The haughty suitors thus that man address'd.
      Ye noble suitors, I would speak; attend!
    The guest is served; he hath already shared                      350
    Equal with us; nor less the laws demand
    Of hospitality; for neither just
    It were nor decent, that a guest, received
    Here by Telemachus, should be denied
    His portion of the feast. Come then--myself
    Will give to him, that he may also give
    To her who laved him in the bath, or else
    To whatsoever menial here he will.
      So saying, he from a basket near at hand
    Heav'd an ox-foot, and with a vig'rous arm                       360
    Hurl'd it. Ulysses gently bow'd his head,
    Shunning the blow, but gratified his just
    Resentment with a broad sardonic smile[94]
    Of dread significance. He smote the wall.
    Then thus Telemachus rebuked the deed.
      Ctesippus, thou art fortunate; the bone
    Struck not the stranger, for he shunn'd the blow;
    Else, I had surely thrust my glitt'ring lance
    Right through thee; then, no hymenæal rites
    Of thine should have employ'd thy father here,                   370
    But thy funereal. No man therefore treat
    Me with indignity within these walls,
    For though of late a child, I can discern
    Now, and distinguish between good and ill.
    Suffice it that we patiently endure
    To be spectators daily of our sheep
    Slaughter'd, our bread consumed, our stores of wine
    Wasted; for what can one to all opposed?
    Come then--persist no longer in offence
    And hostile hate of me; or if ye wish                            380
    To slay me, pause not. It were better far
    To die, and I had rather much be slain,
    Than thus to witness your atrocious deeds
    Day after day; to see our guests abused,
    With blows insulted, and the women dragg'd
    With a licentious violence obscene
    From side to side of all this fair abode.
      He said, and all sat silent, till at length
    Thus Agelaüs spake, Diastor's son.
      My friends! let none with contradiction thwart                 390
    And rude reply, words rational and just;
    Assault no more the stranger, nor of all
    The servants of renown'd Ulysses here
    Harm any. My advice, both to the Queen
    And to Telemachus, shall gentle be,
    May it but please them. While the hope survived
    Within your bosoms of the safe return
    Of wise Ulysses to his native isle,
    So long good reason was that she should use
    Delay, and hold our wooing in suspence;                          400
    For had Ulysses come, that course had proved
    Wisest and best; but that he comes no more
    Appears, now, manifest. Thou, therefore, Prince!
    Seeking thy mother, counsel her to wed
    The noblest, and who offers richest dow'r,
    That thou, for thy peculiar, may'st enjoy
    Thy own inheritance in peace and ease,
    And she, departing, find another home.
      To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.
    I swear by Jove, and by my father's woes,                        410
    Who either hath deceased far from his home,
    Or lives a wand'rer, that I interpose
    No hindrance to her nuptials. Let her wed
    Who offers most, and even whom she will.
    But to dismiss her rudely were a deed
    Unfilial--That I dare not--God forbid!
      So spake Telemachus. Then Pallas struck
    The suitors with delirium; wide they stretch'd
    Their jaws with unspontaneous laughter loud;
    Their meat dripp'd blood; tears fill'd their eyes, and dire
    Presages of approaching woe, their hearts.                       421
    Then thus the prophet Theoclymenus.[95]
      Ah miserable men! what curse is this
    That takes you now? night wraps itself around
    Your faces, bodies, limbs; the palace shakes
    With peals of groans--and oh, what floods ye weep!
    I see the walls and arches dappled thick
    With gore; the vestibule is throng'd, the court
    On all sides throng'd with apparitions grim
    Of slaughter'd men sinking into the gloom                        430
    Of Erebus; the sun is blotted out
    From heav'n, and midnight whelms you premature.
      He said, they, hearing, laugh'd; and thus the son
    Of Polybus, Eurymachus replied.
      This wand'rer from a distant shore hath left
    His wits behind. Hoa there! conduct him hence
    Into the forum; since he dreams it night
    Already, teach him there that it is day.
      Then answer'd godlike Theoclymenus.
    I have no need, Eurymachus, of guides                            440
    To lead me hence, for I have eyes and ears,
    The use of both my feet, and of a mind
    In no respect irrational or wild.
    These shall conduct me forth, for well I know
    That evil threatens you, such, too, as none
    Shall 'scape of all the suitors, whose delight
    Is to insult the unoffending guest
    Received beneath this hospitable roof.
      He said, and, issuing from the palace, sought
    Piræus' house, who gladly welcom'd him.                          450
    Then all the suitors on each other cast
    A look significant, and, to provoke
    Telemachus the more, fleer'd at his guests.
    Of whom a youth thus, insolent began.
      No living wight, Telemachus, had e'er
    Guests such as thine. Witness, we know not who,
    This hungry vagabond, whose means of life
    Are none, and who hath neither skill nor force
    To earn them, a mere burthen on the ground.
    Witness the other also, who upstarts                             460
    A prophet suddenly. Take my advice;
    I counsel wisely; send them both on board
    Some gallant bark to Sicily for sale;
    Thus shall they somewhat profit thee at last.
      So spake the suitors, whom Telemachus
    Heard unconcern'd, and, silent, look'd and look'd
    Toward his father, watching still the time
    When he should punish that licentious throng.
    Meantime, Icarius' daughter, who had placed
    Her splendid seat opposite, heard distinct                       470
    Their taunting speeches. They, with noisy mirth,
    Feasted deliciously, for they had slain
    Many a fat victim; but a sadder feast
    Than, soon, the Goddess and the warrior Chief
    Should furnish for them, none shall ever share.
    Of which their crimes had furnish'd first the cause.


FOOTNOTES:

[88] That is, how shall I escape the vengeance of their kindred?

[89] Aĕdon, Cleothera, Merope.

[90] μυελον ανδρων.

[91] The new moon.

[92] He is often called--πατηρ ανδρων τε θεων τε.

[93] Household Gods who presided over the hearth.

[94] A smile of displeasure.

[95] Who had sought refuge in the ship of Telemachus when he left Sparta,
and came with him to Ithaca.




BOOK XXI

ARGUMENT

Penelope proposes to the suitors a contest with the bow, herself the
prize. They prove unable to bend the bow; when Ulysses having with some
difficulty possessed himself of it, manages it with the utmost ease, and
dispatches his arrow through twelve rings erected for the trial.


    Minerva, now, Goddess cærulean-eyed,
    Prompted Icarius' daughter, the discrete
    Penelope, with bow and rings to prove
    Her suitors in Ulysses' courts, a game
    Terrible in conclusion to them all.
    First, taking in her hand the brazen key
    Well-forged, and fitted with an iv'ry grasp,
    Attended by the women of her train
    She sought her inmost chamber, the recess
    In which she kept the treasures of her Lord,                      10
    His brass, his gold, and steel elaborate.
    Here lay his stubborn bow, and quiver fill'd
    With num'rous shafts, a fatal store. That bow
    He had received and quiver from the hand
    Of godlike Iphitus Eurytides,
    Whom, in Messenia,[96] in the house he met
    Of brave Orsilochus. Ulysses came
    Demanding payment of arrearage due
    From all that land; for a Messenian fleet
    Had borne from Ithaca three hundred sheep,                        20
    With all their shepherds; for which cause, ere yet
    Adult, he voyaged to that distant shore,
    Deputed by his sire, and by the Chiefs
    Of Ithaca, to make the just demand.
    But Iphitus had thither come to seek
    Twelve mares and twelve mule colts which he had lost,
    A search that cost him soon a bloody death.
    For, coming to the house of Hercules
    The valiant task-performing son of Jove,
    He perish'd there, slain by his cruel host                        30
    Who, heedless of heav'n's wrath, and of the rights
    Of his own board, first fed, then slaughter'd him;
    For in _his_ house the mares and colts were hidden.
    He, therefore, occupied in that concern,
    Meeting Ulysses there, gave him the bow
    Which, erst, huge Eurytus had borne, and which
    Himself had from his dying sire received.
    Ulysses, in return, on him bestowed
    A spear and sword, pledges of future love
    And hospitality; but never more                                   40
    They met each other at the friendly board,
    For, ere that hour arrived, the son of Jove
    Slew his own guest, the godlike Iphitus.
    Thus came the bow into Ulysses' hands,
    Which, never in his gallant barks he bore
    To battle with him, (though he used it oft
    In times of peace) but left it safely stored
    At home, a dear memorial of his friend.
      Soon as, divinest of her sex, arrived
    At that same chamber, with her foot she press'd                   50
    The oaken threshold bright, on which the hand
    Of no mean architect had stretch'd the line,
    Who had erected also on each side
    The posts on which the splendid portals hung,
    She loos'd the ring and brace, then introduced
    The key, and aiming at them from without,[97]
    Struck back the bolts. The portals, at that stroke,
    Sent forth a tone deep as the pastur'd bull's,
    And flew wide open. She, ascending, next,
    The elevated floor on which the chests                            60
    That held her own fragrant apparel stood,
    With lifted hand aloft took down the bow
    In its embroider'd bow-case safe enclosed.
    Then, sitting there, she lay'd it on her knees,
    Weeping aloud, and drew it from the case.
    Thus weeping over it long time she sat,
    Till satiate, at the last, with grief and tears,
    Descending by the palace steps she sought
    Again the haughty suitors, with the bow
    Elastic, and the quiver in her hand                               70
    Replete with pointed shafts, a deadly store.
    Her maidens, as she went, bore after her
    A coffer fill'd with prizes by her Lord,
    Much brass and steel; and when at length she came,
    Loveliest of women, where the suitors sat,
    Between the pillars of the stately dome
    Pausing, before her beauteous face she held
    Her lucid veil, and by two matrons chaste
    Supported, the assembly thus address'd.
      Ye noble suitors hear, who rudely haunt                         80
    This palace of a Chief long absent hence,
    Whose substance ye have now long time consumed,
    Nor palliative have yet contrived, or could,
    Save your ambition to make me a bride--
    Attend this game to which I call you forth.
    Now suitors! prove yourselves with this huge bow
    Of wide-renown'd Ulysses; he who draws
    Easiest the bow, and who his arrow sends
    Through twice six rings, he takes me to his home,
    And I must leave this mansion of my youth                         90
    Plenteous, magnificent, which, doubtless, oft
    I shall remember even in my dreams.
      So saying, she bade Eumæus lay the bow
    Before them, and the twice six rings of steel.
    He wept, received them, and obey'd; nor wept
    The herdsman less, seeing the bow which erst
    His Lord had occupied; when at their tears
    Indignant, thus, Antinoüs began.
      Ye rural drones, whose purblind eyes see not
    Beyond the present hour, egregious fools!                        100
    Why weeping trouble ye the Queen, too much
    Before afflicted for her husband lost?
    Either partake the banquet silently,
    Or else go weep abroad, leaving the bow,
    That stubborn test, to us; for none, I judge,
    None here shall bend this polish'd bow with ease,
    Since in this whole assembly I discern
    None like Ulysses, whom myself have seen
    And recollect, though I was then a boy.
      He said, but in his heart, meantime, the hope                  110
    Cherish'd, that he should bend, himself, the bow,
    And pass the rings; yet was he destin'd first
    Of all that company to taste the steel
    Of brave Ulysses' shaft, whom in that house
    He had so oft dishonour'd, and had urged
    So oft all others to the like offence.
    Amidst them, then, the sacred might arose
    Of young Telemachus, who thus began.
      Saturnian Jove questionless hath deprived
    Me of all reason. My own mother, fam'd                           120
    For wisdom as she is, makes known to all
    Her purpose to abandon this abode
    And follow a new mate, while, heedless, I
    Trifle and laugh as I were still a child.
    But come, ye suitors! since the prize is such,
    A woman like to whom none can be found
    This day in all Achaia; on the shores
    Of sacred Pylus; in the cities proud
    Of Argos or Mycenæ; or even here
    In Ithaca; or yet within the walls                               130
    Of black Epirus; and since this yourselves
    Know also, wherefore should I speak her praise?
    Come then, delay not, waste not time in vain
    Excuses, turn not from the proof, but bend
    The bow, that thus the issue may be known.
    I also will, myself, that task essay;
    And should I bend the bow, and pass the rings,
    Then shall not my illustrious mother leave
    Her son forlorn, forsaking this abode
    To follow a new spouse, while I remain                           140
    Disconsolate, although of age to bear,
    Successful as my sire, the prize away.
      So saying, he started from his seat, cast off
    His purple cloak, and lay'd his sword aside,
    Then fix'd, himself, the rings, furrowing the earth
    By line, and op'ning one long trench for all,
    And stamping close the glebe. Amazement seized
    All present, seeing with how prompt a skill
    He executed, though untaught, his task.
    Then, hasting to the portal, there he stood.                     150
    Thrice, struggling, he essay'd to bend the bow,
    And thrice desisted, hoping still to draw
    The bow-string home, and shoot through all the rings.[98]
    And now the fourth time striving with full force
    He had prevail'd to string it, but his sire
    Forbad his eager efforts by a sign.
    Then thus the royal youth to all around--
      Gods! either I shall prove of little force
    Hereafter, and for manly feats unapt,
    Or I am yet too young, and have not strength                     160
    To quell the aggressor's contumely. But come--
    (For ye have strength surpassing mine) try ye
    The bow, and bring this contest to an end.
      He ceas'd, and set the bow down on the floor,
    Reclining it against the shaven pannels smooth
    That lined the wall; the arrow next he placed,
    Leaning against the bow's bright-polish'd horn,
    And to the seat, whence he had ris'n, return'd.
    Then thus Eupithes' son, Antinoüs spake.
      My friends! come forth successive from the right,[99]          170
    Where he who ministers the cup begins.
      So spake Antinoüs, and his counsel pleased.
    Then, first, Leiodes, Œnop's son, arose.
    He was their soothsayer, and ever sat
    Beside the beaker, inmost of them all.
    To him alone, of all, licentious deeds
    Were odious, and, with indignation fired,
    He witness'd the excesses of the rest.
    He then took foremost up the shaft and bow,
    And, station'd at the portal, strove to bend                     180
    But bent it not, fatiguing, first, his hands
    Delicate and uncustom'd to the toil.
    He ceased, and the assembly thus bespake.
      My friends, I speed not; let another try;
    For many Princes shall this bow of life
    Bereave, since death more eligible seems,
    Far more, than loss of her, for whom we meet
    Continual here, expecting still the prize.
    Some suitor, haply, at this moment, hopes
    That he shall wed whom long he hath desired,                     190
    Ulysses' wife, Penelope; let him
    Essay the bow, and, trial made, address
    His spousal offers to some other fair
    Among the long-stoled Princesses of Greece,
    This Princess leaving his, whose proffer'd gifts
    Shall please her most, and whom the Fates ordain.
      He said, and set the bow down on the floor,
    Reclining it against the shaven pannels smooth
    That lined the wall; the arrow, next, he placed,
    Leaning against the bow's bright-polish'd horn,                  200
    And to the seat whence he had ris'n return'd.
    Then him Antinoüs, angry, thus reproved.
      What word, Leiodes, grating to our ears
    Hath scap'd thy lips? I hear it with disdain.
    Shall this bow fatal prove to many a Prince,
    Because thou hast, thyself, too feeble proved
    To bend it? no. Thou wast not born to bend
    The unpliant bow, or to direct the shaft,
    But here are nobler who shall soon prevail.
      He said, and to Melanthius gave command,                       210
    The goat-herd. Hence, Melanthius, kindle fire;
    Beside it place, with fleeces spread, a form
    Of length commodious; from within procure
    A large round cake of suet next, with which
    When we have chafed and suppled the tough bow
    Before the fire, we will again essay
    To bend it, and decide the doubtful strife.
      He ended, and Melanthius, kindling fire
    Beside it placed, with fleeces spread, a form
    Of length commodious; next, he brought a cake                    220
    Ample and round of suet from within,
    With which they chafed the bow, then tried again
    To bend, but bent it not; superior strength
    To theirs that task required. Yet two, the rest
    In force surpassing, made no trial yet,
    Antinoüs, and Eurymachus the brave.
      Then went the herdsman and the swine-herd forth
    Together; after whom, the glorious Chief
    Himself the house left also, and when all
    Without the court had met, with gentle speech                    230
    Ulysses, then, the faithful pair address'd.
      Herdsman! and thou, Eumæus! shall I keep
    A certain secret close, or shall I speak
    Outright? my spirit prompts me, and I will.
    What welcome should Ulysses at your hands
    Receive, arriving suddenly at home,
    Some God his guide; would ye the suitors aid,
    Or would ye aid Ulysses? answer true.
      Then thus the chief intendant of his herds.
    Would Jove but grant me my desire, to see                        240
    Once more the Hero, and would some kind Pow'r,
    Restore him, I would shew thee soon an arm
    Strenuous to serve him, and a dauntless heart.
      Eumæus, also, fervently implored
    The Gods in pray'r, that they would render back
    Ulysses to his home. He, then, convinced
    Of their unfeigning honesty, began.
      Behold him! I am he myself, arrived
    After long suff'rings in the twentieth year!
    I know how welcome to yourselves alone                           250
    Of all my train I come, for I have heard
    None others praying for my safe return.
    I therefore tell you truth; should heav'n subdue
    The suitors under me, ye shall receive
    Each at my hands a bride, with lands and house
    Near to my own, and ye shall be thenceforth
    Dear friends and brothers of the Prince my son.
    Lo! also this indisputable proof
    That ye may know and trust me. View it here.
    It is the scar which in Parnassus erst                           260
    (Where with the sons I hunted of renown'd
    Autolycus) I from a boar received.
      So saying, he stripp'd his tatters, and unveil'd
    The whole broad scar; then, soon as they had seen
    And surely recognized the mark, each cast
    His arms around Ulysses, wept, embraced
    And press'd him to his bosom, kissing oft
    His brows and shoulders, who as oft their hands
    And foreheads kiss'd, nor had the setting sun
    Beheld them satisfied, but that himself                          270
    Ulysses thus admonished them, and said.
      Cease now from tears, lest any, coming forth,
    Mark and report them to our foes within.
    Now, to the hall again, but one by one,
    Not all at once, I foremost, then yourselves,
    And this shall be the sign. Full well I know
    That, all unanimous, they will oppose
    Deliv'ry of the bow and shafts to me;
    But thou, (proceeding with it to my seat)
    Eumæus, noble friend! shalt give the bow                         280
    Into my grasp; then bid the women close
    The massy doors, and should they hear a groan
    Or other noise made by the Princes shut
    Within the hall, let none set step abroad,
    But all work silent. Be the palace-door
    Thy charge, my good Philœtius! key it fast
    Without a moment's pause, and fix the brace.[100]
      He ended, and, returning to the hall,
    Resumed his seat; nor stay'd his servants long
    Without, but follow'd their illustrious Lord.                    290
    Eurymachus was busily employ'd
    Turning the bow, and chafing it before
    The sprightly blaze, but, after all, could find
    No pow'r to bend it. Disappointment wrung
    A groan from his proud heart, and thus he said.
      Alas! not only for myself I grieve,
    But grieve for all. Nor, though I mourn the loss
    Of such a bride, mourn I that loss alone,
    (For lovely Greecians may be found no few
    In Ithaca, and in the neighbour isles)                           300
    But should we so inferior prove at last
    To brave Ulysses, that no force of ours
    Can bend his bow, we are for ever shamed.
      To whom Antinoüs, thus, Eupithes' son.
    Not so; (as even thou art well-assured
    Thyself, Eurymachus!) but Phœbus claims
    This day his own. Who then, on such a day,
    Would strive to bend it? Let it rather rest.
    And should we leave the rings where now they stand,
    I trust that none ent'ring Ulysses' house                        310
    Will dare displace them. Cup-bearer, attend!
    Serve all with wine, that, first, libation made,
    We may religiously lay down the bow.
    Command ye too Melanthius, that he drive
    Hither the fairest goats of all his flocks
    At dawn of day, that burning first, the thighs
    To the ethereal archer, we may make
    New trial, and decide, at length, the strife.
      So spake Antinoüs, and his counsel pleased.
    The heralds, then, pour'd water on their hands,                  320
    While youths crown'd high the goblets which they bore
    From right to left, distributing to all.
    When each had made libation, and had drunk
    Till well sufficed, then, artful to effect
    His shrewd designs, Ulysses thus began.
      Hear, O ye suitors of the illustrious Queen,
    My bosom's dictates. But I shall entreat
    Chiefly Eurymachus and the godlike youth
    Antinoüs, whose advice is wisely giv'n.
      Tamper no longer with the bow, but leave                       330
    The matter with the Gods, who shall decide
    The strife to-morrow, fav'ring whom they will.
    Meantime, grant _me_ the polish'd bow, that I
    May trial make among you of my force,
    If I retain it still in like degree
    As erst, or whether wand'ring and defect
    Of nourishment have worn it all away.
      He said, whom they with indignation heard
    Extreme, alarm'd lest he should bend the bow,
    And sternly thus Antinoüs replied.                               340
      Desperate vagabond! ah wretch deprived
    Of reason utterly! art not content?
    Esteem'st it not distinction proud enough
    To feast with us the nobles of the land?
    None robs thee of thy share, thou witnessest
    Our whole discourse, which, save thyself alone,
    No needy vagrant is allow'd to hear.
    Thou art befool'd by wine, as many have been,
    Wide-throated drinkers, unrestrain'd by rule.
    Wine in the mansion of the mighty Chief                          350
    Pirithoüs, made the valiant Centaur mad
    Eurytion, at the Lapithæan feast.[101]
    He drank to drunkenness, and being drunk,
    Committed great enormities beneath
    Pirithoüs' roof, and such as fill'd with rage
    The Hero-guests; who therefore by his feet
    Dragg'd him right through the vestibule, amerced
    Of nose and ears, and he departed thence
    Provoked to frenzy by that foul disgrace,
    Whence war between the human kind arose                          360
    And the bold Centaurs--but he first incurred
    By his ebriety that mulct severe.
    Great evil, also, if thou bend the bow,
    To thee I prophesy; for thou shalt find
    Advocate or protector none in all
    This people, but we will dispatch thee hence
    Incontinent on board a sable bark
    To Echetus, the scourge of human kind,
    From whom is no escape. Drink then in peace,
    And contest shun with younger men than thou.                     370
      Him answer'd, then, Penelope discrete.
    Antinoüs! neither seemly were the deed
    Nor just, to maim or harm whatever guest
    Whom here arrived Telemachus receives.
    Canst thou expect, that should he even prove
    Stronger than ye, and bend the massy bow,
    He will conduct me hence to his own home,
    And make me his own bride? No such design
    His heart conceives, or hope; nor let a dread
    So vain the mind of any overcloud                                380
    Who banquets here, since it dishonours me.
      So she; to whom Eurymachus reply'd,
    Offspring of Polybus. O matchless Queen!
    Icarius' prudent daughter! none suspects
    That thou wilt wed with him; a mate so mean
    Should ill become thee; but we fear the tongues
    Of either sex, lest some Achaian say
    Hereafter, (one inferior far to us)
    Ah! how unworthy are they to compare
    With him whose wife they seek! to bend his bow                   390
    Pass'd all their pow'r, yet this poor vagabond,
    Arriving from what country none can tell,
    Bent it with ease, and shot through all the rings.
    So will they speak, and so shall we be shamed.
      Then answer, thus, Penelope return'd.
    No fair report, Eurymachus, attends
    Their names or can, who, riotous as ye,
    The house dishonour, and consume the wealth
    Of such a Chief. Why shame ye thus _yourselves_?
    The guest is of athletic frame, well form'd,                     400
    And large of limb; he boasts him also sprung
    From noble ancestry. Come then--consent--
    Give him the bow, that we may see the proof;
    For thus I say, and thus will I perform;
    Sure as he bends it, and Apollo gives
    To him that glory, tunic fair and cloak
    Shall be his meed from me, a javelin keen
    To guard him against men and dogs, a sword
    Of double edge, and sandals for his feet,
    And I will send him whither most he would.                       410
      Her answer'd then prudent Telemachus.
    Mother--the bow is mine; and, save myself,
    No Greek hath right to give it, or refuse.
    None who in rock-bound Ithaca possess
    Dominion, none in the steed-pastured isles
    Of Elis, if I chose to make the bow
    His own for ever, should that choice controul.
    But thou into the house repairing, ply
    Spindle and loom, thy province, and enjoin
    Diligence to thy maidens; for the bow                            420
    Is man's concern alone, and shall be mine
    Especially, since I am master here.
      She heard astonish'd, and the prudent speech
    Reposing of her son deep in her heart,
    Withdrew; then mounting with her female train
    To her superior chamber, there she wept
    Her lost Ulysses, till Minerva bathed
    With balmy dews of sleep her weary lids.
    And now the noble swine-herd bore the bow
    Toward Ulysses, but with one voice all                           430
    The suitors, clamorous, reproved the deed,
    Of whom a youth, thus, insolent exclaim'd.
      Thou clumsy swine-herd, whither bear'st the bow,
    Delirious wretch? the hounds that thou hast train'd
    Shall eat thee at thy solitary home
    Ere long, let but Apollo prove, at last,
    Propitious to us, and the Pow'rs of heav'n.
      So they, whom hearing he replaced the bow
    Where erst it stood, terrified at the sound
    Of such loud menaces; on the other side                          440
    Telemachus as loud assail'd his ear.
      Friend! forward with the bow; or soon repent
    That thou obey'dst the many. I will else
    With huge stones drive thee, younger as I am,
    Back to the field. My strength surpasses thine.
    I would to heav'n that I in force excell'd
    As far, and prowess, every suitor here!
    So would I soon give rude dismission hence
    To some, who live but to imagine harm.
      He ceased, whose words the suitors laughing heard.             450
    And, for their sake, in part their wrath resign'd
    Against Telemachus; then through the hall
    Eumæus bore, and to Ulysses' hand
    Consign'd the bow; next, summoning abroad
    The ancient nurse, he gave her thus in charge.
      It is the pleasure of Telemachus,
    Sage Euryclea! that thou key secure
    The doors; and should you hear, perchance, a groan
    Or other noise made by the Princes shut
    Within the hall, let none look, curious, forth,                  460
    But each in quietness pursue her work.
      So he; nor flew his words useless away,
    But she, incontinent, shut fast the doors.
    Then, noiseless, sprang Philœtius forth, who closed
    The portals also of the palace-court.
    A ship-rope of Ægyptian reed, it chanced,
    Lay in the vestibule; with that he braced
    The doors securely, and re-entring fill'd
    Again his seat, but watchful, eyed his Lord.
    He, now, assaying with his hand the bow,                         470
    Made curious trial of it ev'ry way,
    And turn'd it on all sides, lest haply worms
    Had in its master's absence drill'd the horn.
    Then thus a suitor to his next remark'd.
      He hath an eye, methinks, exactly skill'd
    In bows, and steals them; or perhaps, at home,
    Hath such himself, or feels a strong desire
    To make them; so inquisitive the rogue
    Adept in mischief, shifts it to and fro!
      To whom another, insolent, replied.                            480
    I wish him like prosperity in all
    His efforts, as attends his effort made
    On this same bow, which he shall never bend.
      So they; but when the wary Hero wise
    Had made his hand familiar with the bow
    Poising it and examining--at once--
    As when in harp and song adept, a bard
    Unlab'ring strains the chord to a new lyre,
    The twisted entrails of a sheep below
    With fingers nice inserting, and above,                          490
    With such facility Ulysses bent
    His own huge bow, and with his right hand play'd
    The nerve, which in its quick vibration sang
    Clear as the swallow's voice. Keen anguish seized
    The suitors, wan grew ev'ry cheek, and Jove
    Gave him his rolling thunder for a sign.
    That omen, granted to him by the son
    Of wily Saturn, with delight he heard.
    He took a shaft that at the table-side
    Lay ready drawn; but in his quiver's womb                        500
    The rest yet slept, by those Achaians proud
    To be, ere long, experienced. True he lodg'd
    The arrow on the centre of the bow,
    And, occupying still his seat, drew home
    Nerve and notch'd arrow-head; with stedfast sight
    He aimed and sent it; right through all the rings
    From first to last the steel-charged weapon flew
    Issuing beyond, and to his son he spake.
      Thou need'st not blush, young Prince, to have received
    A guest like me; neither my arrow swerved,                       510
    Nor labour'd I long time to draw the bow;
    My strength is unimpair'd, not such as these
    In scorn affirm it. But the waning day
    Calls us to supper, after which succeeds[102]
    Jocund variety, the song, the harp,
    With all that heightens and adorns the feast.
      He said, and with his brows gave him the sign.
    At once the son of the illustrious Chief
    Slung his keen faulchion, grasp'd his spear, and stood
    Arm'd bright for battle at his father's side.                    520


FOOTNOTES:

[96] A province of Laconia.

[97] The reader will of course observe, that the whole of this process
implies a sort of mechanism very different from that with which we are
acquainted.--The translation, I believe, is exact.

[98] This first attempt of Telemachus and the suitors was not an attempt
to shoot, but to lodge the bow-string on the opposite horn, the bow
having been released at one end, and slackened while it was laid by.

[99] Antinoüs prescribes to them this manner of rising to the trial for
the good omen's sake, the left-hand being held unpropitious.

[100] The δεσμὸς seems to have been a strap designed to close the only
aperture by which the bolt could be displaced, and the door opened.

[101] When Pirithoüs, one of the Lapithæ, married Hippodamia, daughter of
Adrastus, he invited the Centaurs to the wedding. The Centaurs,
intoxicated with wine, attempted to ravish the wives of the Lapithæ, who
in resentment of that insult, slew them.

[102] This is an instance of the Σαρδανιον μαλα τοιον mentioned in Book
XX.; such as, perhaps, could not be easily paralleled. I question if
there be a passage, either in ancient or modern tragedy, so truly
terrible as this seeming levity of Ulysses, in the moment when he was
going to begin the slaughter.




BOOK XXII

ARGUMENT

Ulysses, with some little assistance from Telemachus, Eumæus and
Philœtius, slays all the suitors, and twelve of the female servants
who had allowed themselves an illicit intercourse with them, are hanged.
Melanthius also is punished with miserable mutilation.


    Then, girding up his rags, Ulysses sprang
    With bow and full-charged quiver to the door;
    Loose on the broad stone at his feet he pour'd
    His arrows, and the suitors, thus, bespake.
      This prize, though difficult, hath been atchieved.
    Now for another mark which never man
    Struck yet, but I will strike it if I may,
    And if Apollo make that glory mine.
      He said, and at Antinoüs aimed direct
    A bitter shaft; he, purposing to drink,                           10
    Both hands advanced toward the golden cup
    Twin-ear'd, nor aught suspected death so nigh.
    For who, at the full banquet, could suspect
    That any single guest, however brave,
    Should plan his death, and execute the blow?
    Yet him Ulysses with an arrow pierced
    Full in the throat, and through his neck behind
    Started the glitt'ring point. Aslant he droop'd;
    Down fell the goblet, through his nostrils flew
    The spouted blood, and spurning with his foot                     20
    The board, he spread his viands in the dust.
    Confusion, when they saw Antinoüs fall'n,
    Seized all the suitors; from the thrones they sprang,
    Flew ev'ry way, and on all sides explored
    The palace-walls, but neither sturdy lance
    As erst, nor buckler could they there discern,
    Then, furious, to Ulysses thus they spake.
      Thy arrow, stranger, was ill-aimed; a man
    Is no just mark. Thou never shalt dispute
    Prize more. Inevitable death is thine.                            30
    For thou hast slain a Prince noblest of all
    In Ithaca, and shalt be vultures' food.
      Various their judgments were, but none believed
    That he had slain him wittingly, nor saw
    Th' infatuate men fate hov'ring o'er them all.
    Then thus Ulysses, louring dark, replied.
      O dogs! not fearing aught my safe return
    From Ilium, ye have shorn my substance close,
    Lain with my women forcibly, and sought,
    While yet I lived, to make my consort yours,                      40
    Heedless of the inhabitants of heav'n
    Alike, and of the just revenge of man.
    But death is on the wing; death for you all.
      He said; their cheeks all faded at the sound,
    And each with sharpen'd eyes search'd ev'ry nook
    For an escape from his impending doom,
    Till thus, alone, Eurymachus replied.
      If thou indeed art he, the mighty Chief
    Of Ithaca return'd, thou hast rehears'd
    With truth the crimes committed by the Greeks                     50
    Frequent, both in thy house and in thy field.
    But he, already, who was cause of all,
    Lies slain, Antinoüs; he thy palace fill'd
    With outrage, not solicitous so much
    To win the fair Penelope, but thoughts
    Far diff'rent framing, which Saturnian Jove
    Hath baffled all; to rule, himself, supreme
    In noble Ithaca, when he had kill'd
    By an insidious stratagem thy son.
    But he is slain. Now therefore, spare thy own,                    60
    Thy people; public reparation due
    Shall sure be thine, and to appease thy wrath
    For all the waste that, eating, drinking here
    We have committed, we will yield thee, each,
    Full twenty beeves, gold paying thee beside
    And brass, till joy shall fill thee at the sight,
    However just thine anger was before.
      To whom Ulysses, frowning stern, replied,
    Eurymachus, would ye contribute each
    His whole inheritance, and other sums                             70
    Still add beside, ye should not, even so,
    These hands of mine bribe to abstain from blood,
    Till ev'ry suitor suffer for his wrong.
    Ye have your choice. Fight with me, or escape
    (Whoever may) the terrours of his fate,
    But ye all perish, if my thought be true.
      He ended, they with trembling knees and hearts
    All heard, whom thus Eurymachus address'd.
      To your defence, my friends! for respite none
    Will he to his victorious hands afford,                           80
    But, arm'd with bow and quiver, will dispatch
    Shafts from the door till he have slain us all.
    Therefore to arms--draw each his sword--oppose
    The tables to his shafts, and all at once
    Rush on him; that, dislodging him at least
    From portal and from threshold, we may give
    The city on all sides a loud alarm,
    So shall this archer soon have shot his last.
      Thus saying, he drew his brazen faulchion keen
    Of double edge, and with a dreadful cry                           90
    Sprang on him; but Ulysses with a shaft
    In that same moment through his bosom driv'n
    Transfix'd his liver, and down dropp'd his sword.
    He, staggering around his table, fell
    Convolv'd in agonies, and overturn'd
    Both food and wine; his forehead smote the floor;
    Woe fill'd his heart, and spurning with his heels
    His vacant seat, he shook it till he died.
    Then, with his faulchion drawn, Amphinomus
    Advanced to drive Ulysses from the door,                         100
    And fierce was his assault; but, from behind,
    Telemachus between his shoulders fix'd
    A brazen lance, and urged it through his breast.
    Full on his front, with hideous sound, he fell.
    Leaving the weapon planted in his spine
    Back flew Telemachus, lest, had he stood
    Drawing it forth, some enemy, perchance,
    Should either pierce him with a sudden thrust
    Oblique, or hew him with a downright edge.
    Swift, therefore, to his father's side he ran,                   110
    Whom reaching, in wing'd accents thus he said.
      My father! I will now bring thee a shield,
    An helmet, and two spears; I will enclose
    Myself in armour also, and will give
    Both to the herdsmen and Eumæus arms
    Expedient now, and needful for us all.
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    Run; fetch them, while I yet have arrows left,
    Lest, single, I be justled from the door.
      He said, and, at his word, forth went the Prince,              120
    Seeking the chamber where he had secured
    The armour. Thence he took four shields, eight spears,
    With four hair-crested helmets, charged with which
    He hasted to his father's side again,
    And, arming first himself, furnish'd with arms
    His two attendants. Then, all clad alike
    In splendid brass, beside the dauntless Chief
    Ulysses, his auxiliars firm they stood.
    He, while a single arrow unemploy'd
    Lay at his foot, right-aiming, ever pierced                      130
    Some suitor through, and heaps on heaps they fell.
    But when his arrows fail'd the royal Chief,
    His bow reclining at the portal's side
    Against the palace-wall, he slung, himself,
    A four-fold buckler on his arm, he fix'd
    A casque whose crest wav'd awful o'er his brows
    On his illustrious head, and fill'd his gripe
    With two stout spears, well-headed both, with brass.
      There was a certain postern in the wall[103]
    At the gate-side, the customary pass                             140
    Into a narrow street, but barr'd secure.
    Ulysses bade his faithful swine-herd watch
    That egress, station'd near it, for it own'd
    One sole approach; then Agelaüs loud
    Exhorting all the suitors, thus exclaim'd.
      Oh friends, will none, ascending to the door
    Of yonder postern, summon to our aid
    The populace, and spread a wide alarm?
    So shall this archer soon have shot his last.
      To whom the keeper of the goats replied                        150
    Melanthius. Agelaüs! Prince renown'd!
    That may not be. The postern and the gate[104]
    Neighbour too near each other, and to force
    The narrow egress were a vain attempt;
    One valiant man might thence repulse us all.
    But come--myself will furnish you with arms
    Fetch'd from above; for there, as I suppose,
    (And not elsewhere) Ulysses and his son
    Have hidden them, and there they shall be found.
      So spake Melanthius, and, ascending, sought                    160
    Ulysses' chambers through the winding stairs
    And gall'ries of the house. Twelve bucklers thence
    He took, as many spears, and helmets bright
    As many, shagg'd with hair, then swift return'd
    And gave them to his friends. Trembled the heart
    Of brave Ulysses, and his knees, at sight
    Of his opposers putting armour on,
    And shaking each his spear; arduous indeed
    Now seem'd his task, and in wing'd accents brief
    Thus to his son Telemachus he spake.                             170
      Either some woman of our train contrives
    Hard battle for us, furnishing with arms
    The suitors, or Melanthius arms them all.
      Him answer'd then Telemachus discrete.
    Father, this fault was mine, and be it charged
    On none beside; I left the chamber-door
    Unbarr'd, which, more attentive than myself,
    Their spy perceived. But haste, Eumæus, shut
    The chamber-door, observing well, the while,
    If any women of our train have done                              180
    This deed, or whether, as I more suspect,
    Melanthius, Dolius' son, have giv'n them arms.
      Thus mutual they conferr'd; meantime, again
    Melanthius to the chamber flew in quest
    Of other arms. Eumæus, as he went,
    Mark'd him, and to Ulysses' thus he spake.
      Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd!
    Behold, the traytor, whom ourselves supposed,
    Seeks yet again the chamber! Tell me plain,
    Shall I, should I superior prove in force,                       190
    Slay him, or shall I drag him thence to thee,
    That he may suffer at thy hands the doom
    Due to his treasons perpetrated oft
    Against thee, here, even in thy own house?
      Then answer thus Ulysses shrewd return'd.
    I, with Telemachus, will here immew
    The lordly suitors close, rage as they may.
    Ye two, the while, bind fast Melanthius' hands
    And feet behind his back, then cast him bound
    Into the chamber, and (the door secured)                         200
    Pass underneath his arms a double chain,
    And by a pillar's top weigh him aloft
    Till he approach the rafters, there to endure,
    Living long time, the mis'ries he hath earned.
      He spake; they prompt obey'd; together both
    They sought the chamber, whom the wretch within
    Heard not, exploring ev'ry nook for arms.
    They watching stood the door, from which, at length,
    Forth came Melanthius, bearing in one hand
    A casque, and in the other a broad shield                        210
    Time-worn and chapp'd with drought, which in his youth
    Warlike Laertes had been wont to bear.
    Long time neglected it had lain, till age
    Had loosed the sutures of its bands. At once
    Both, springing on him, seized and drew him in
    Forcibly by his locks, then cast him down
    Prone on the pavement, trembling at his fate.
    With painful stricture of the cord his hands
    They bound and feet together at his back,
    As their illustrious master had enjoined,                        220
    Then weigh'd him with a double chain aloft
    By a tall pillar to the palace-roof,
    And thus, deriding him, Eumæus spake.
      Now, good Melanthius, on that fleecy bed
    Reclined, as well befits thee, thou wilt watch
    All night, nor when the golden dawn forsakes
    The ocean stream, will she escape thine eye,
    But thou wilt duly to the palace drive
    The fattest goats, a banquet for thy friends.
      So saying, he left him in his dreadful sling.                  230
    Then, arming both, and barring fast the door,
    They sought brave Laertiades again.
    And now, courageous at the portal stood
    Those four, by numbers in the interior house
    Opposed of adversaries fierce in arms,
    When Pallas, in the form and with the voice
    Approach'd of Mentor, whom Laertes' son
    Beheld, and joyful at the sight, exclaim'd.
      Help, Mentor! help--now recollect a friend
    And benefactor, born when thou wast born.                        240
      So he, not unsuspicious that he saw
    Pallas, the heroine of heav'n. Meantime
    The suitors fill'd with menaces the dome,
    And Agelaüs, first, Damastor's son,
    In accents harsh rebuked the Goddess thus.
      Beware, oh Mentor! that he lure thee not
    To oppose the suitors and to aid himself,
    For thus will we. Ulysses and his son
    Both slain, in vengeance of thy purpos'd deeds
    Against us, we will slay _thee_ next, and thou                   250
    With thy own head shalt satisfy the wrong.
    Your force thus quell'd in battle, all thy wealth
    Whether in house or field, mingled with his,
    We will confiscate, neither will we leave
    Or son of thine, or daughter in thy house
    Alive, nor shall thy virtuous consort more
    Within the walls of Ithaca be seen.
      He ended, and his words with wrath inflamed
    Minerva's heart the more; incensed, she turn'd
    Towards Ulysses, whom she thus reproved.                         260
      Thou neither own'st the courage nor the force,
    Ulysses, now, which nine whole years thou showd'st
    At Ilium, waging battle obstinate
    For high-born Helen, and in horrid fight
    Destroying multitudes, till thy advice
    At last lay'd Priam's bulwark'd city low.
    Why, in possession of thy proper home
    And substance, mourn'st thou want of pow'r t'oppose
    The suitors? Stand beside me, mark my deeds,
    And thou shalt own Mentor Alcimides                              270
    A valiant friend, and mindful of thy love.
      She spake; nor made she victory as yet
    Entire his own, proving the valour, first,
    Both of the sire and of his glorious son,
    But, springing in a swallow's form aloft,
    Perch'd on a rafter of the splendid roof.
    Then, Agelaüs animated loud
    The suitors, whom Eurynomus also roused,
    Amphimedon, and Demoptolemus,
    And Polyctorides, Pisander named,                                280
    And Polybus the brave; for noblest far
    Of all the suitor-chiefs who now survived
    And fought for life were these. The bow had quell'd
    And shafts, in quick succession sent, the rest.
    Then Agelaüs, thus, harangued them all.
      We soon shall tame, O friends, this warrior's might,
    Whom Mentor, after all his airy vaunts
    Hath left, and at the portal now remain
    Themselves alone. Dismiss not therefore, all,
    Your spears together, but with six alone                         290
    Assail them first; Jove willing, we shall pierce
    Ulysses, and subduing him, shall slay
    With ease the rest; their force is safely scorn'd.
      He ceas'd; and, as he bade, six hurl'd the spear
    Together; but Minerva gave them all
    A devious flight; one struck a column, one
    The planks of the broad portal, and a third[105]
    Flung right his ashen beam pond'rous with brass
    Against the wall. Then (ev'ry suitor's spear
    Eluded) thus Ulysses gave the word--                             300
      Now friends! I counsel you that ye dismiss
    Your spears at _them_, who, not content with past
    Enormities, thirst also for our blood.
      He said, and with unerring aim, all threw
    Their glitt'ring spears. Ulysses on the ground
    Stretch'd Demoptolemus; Euryades
    Fell by Telemachus; the swine-herd slew
    Elătus; and the keeper of the beeves
    Pisander; in one moment all alike
    Lay grinding with their teeth the dusty floor.                   310
    Back flew the suitors to the farthest wall,
    On whom those valiant four advancing, each
    Recover'd, quick, his weapon from the dead.
    Then hurl'd the desp'rate suitors yet again
    Their glitt'ring spears, but Pallas gave to each
    A frustrate course; one struck a column, one
    The planks of the broad portal, and a third
    Flung full his ashen beam against the walăl.
    Yet pierced Amphimedon the Prince's wrist,
    But slightly, a skin-wound, and o'er his shield                  320
    Ctesippus reach'd the shoulder of the good
    Eumæus, but his glancing weapon swift
    O'erflew the mark, and fell. And now the four,
    Ulysses, dauntless Hero, and his friends
    All hurl'd their spears together in return,
    Himself Ulysses, city-waster Chief,
    Wounded Eurydamas; Ulysses' son
    Amphimedon; the swine-herd Polybus;
    And in his breast the keeper of the beeves
    Ctesippus, glorying over whom, he cried.                         330
      Oh son of Polytherses! whose delight
    Hath been to taunt and jeer, never again
    Boast foolishly, but to the Gods commit
    Thy tongue, since they are mightier far than thou.
    Take this--a compensation for thy pledge
    Of hospitality, the huge ox-hoof,
    Which while he roam'd the palace, begging alms,
    Ulysses at thy bounteous hand received.
      So gloried he; then, grasping still his spear,
    Ulysses pierced Damastor's son, and, next,                       340
    Telemachus, enforcing his long beam
    Sheer through his bowels and his back, transpierced
    Leiocritus, he prostrate smote the floor.
    Then, Pallas from the lofty roof held forth
    Her host-confounding Ægis o'er their heads,
    With'ring their souls with fear. They through the hall
    Fled, scatter'd as an herd, which rapid-wing'd
    The gad-fly dissipates, infester fell
    Of beeves, when vernal suns shine hot and long.
    But, as when bow-beak'd vultures crooked-claw'd[106]             350
    Stoop from the mountains on the smaller fowl;
    Terrified at the toils that spread the plain
    The flocks take wing, they, darting from above,
    Strike, seize, and slay, resistance or escape
    Is none, the fowler's heart leaps with delight,
    So they, pursuing through the spacious hall
    The suitors, smote them on all sides, their heads
    Sounded beneath the sword, with hideous groans
    The palace rang, and the floor foamed with blood.
    Then flew Leiodes to Ulysses' knees,                             360
    Which clasping, in wing'd accents thus he cried.
      I clasp thy knees, Ulysses! oh respect
    My suit, and spare me! Never have I word
    Injurious spoken, or injurious deed
    Attempted 'gainst the women of thy house,
    But others, so transgressing, oft forbad.
    Yet they abstain'd not, and a dreadful fate
    Due to their wickedness have, therefore, found.
    But I, their soothsayer alone, must fall,
    Though unoffending; such is the return                           370
    By mortals made for benefits received!
      To whom Ulysses, louring dark, replied.
    Is that thy boast? Hast thou indeed for these
    The seer's high office fill'd? Then, doubtless, oft
    Thy pray'r hath been that distant far might prove
    The day delectable of my return,
    And that my consort might thy own become
    To bear thee children; wherefore thee I doom
    To a dire death which thou shalt not avoid.
      So saying, he caught the faulchion from the floor              380
    Which Agelaüs had let fall, and smote
    Leiodes, while he kneel'd, athwart his neck
    So suddenly, that ere his tongue had ceased
    To plead for life, his head was in the dust.
    But Phemius, son of Terpius, bard divine,
    Who, through compulsion, with his song regaled
    The suitors, a like dreadful death escaped.
    Fast by the postern, harp in hand, he stood,
    Doubtful if, issuing, he should take his seat
    Beside the altar of Hercæan Jove,[107]                           390
    Where oft Ulysses offer'd, and his sire,
    Fat thighs of beeves, or whether he should haste,
    An earnest suppliant, to embrace his knees.
    That course, at length, most pleased him; then, between
    The beaker and an argent-studded throne
    He grounded his sweet lyre, and seizing fast
    The Hero's knees, him, suppliant, thus address'd.
      I clasp thy knees, Ulysses! oh respect
    My suit, and spare me. Thou shalt not escape
    Regret thyself hereafter, if thou slay                           400
    Me, charmer of the woes of Gods and men.
    Self-taught am I, and treasure in my mind
    Themes of all argument from heav'n inspired,
    And I can sing to thee as to a God.
    Ah, then, behead me not. Put ev'n the wish
    Far from thee! for thy own beloved son
    Can witness, that not drawn by choice, or driv'n
    By stress of want, resorting to thine house
    I have regaled these revellers so oft,
    But under force of mightier far than I.                          410
      So he; whose words soon as the sacred might
    Heard of Telemachus, approaching quick
    His father, thus, humane, he interposed.
      Hold, harm not with the vengeful faulchion's edge
    This blameless man; and we will also spare
    Medon the herald, who hath ever been
    A watchful guardian of my boyish years,
    Unless Philœtius have already slain him,
    Or else Eumæus, or thyself, perchance,
    Unconscious, in the tumult of our foes.                          420
      He spake, whom Medon hearing (for he lay
    Beneath a throne, and in a new-stript hide
    Enfolded, trembling with the dread of death)
    Sprang from his hiding-place, and casting off
    The skin, flew to Telemachus, embraced
    His knees, and in wing'd accents thus exclaim'd.
      Prince! I am here--oh, pity me! repress
    Thine own, and pacify thy father's wrath,
    That he destroy not me, through fierce revenge
    Of their iniquities who have consumed                            430
    His wealth, and, in their folly scorn'd his son.
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied,
    Smiling complacent. Fear not; my own son
    Hath pleaded for thee. Therefore (taught thyself
    That truth) teach others the superior worth
    Of benefits with injuries compared.
    But go ye forth, thou and the sacred bard,
    That ye may sit distant in yonder court
    From all this carnage, while I give command,
    Myself, concerning it, to those within.                          440
      He ceas'd; they going forth, took each his seat
    Beside Jove's altar, but with careful looks
    Suspicious, dreading without cease the sword.
    Meantime Ulysses search'd his hall, in quest
    Of living foes, if any still survived
    Unpunish'd; but he found them all alike
    Welt'ring in dust and blood; num'rous they lay
    Like fishes when they strew the sinuous shore
    Of Ocean, from the grey gulph drawn aground
    In nets of many a mesh; they on the sands                        450
    Lie spread, athirst for the salt wave, till hot
    The gazing sun dries all their life away;
    So lay the suitors heap'd, and thus at length
    The prudent Chief gave order to his son.
      Telemachus! bid Euryclea come
    Quickly, the nurse, to whom I would impart
    The purpose which now occupies me most.
      He said; obedient to his sire, the Prince
    Smote on the door, and summon'd loud the nurse.
      Arise thou ancient governess of all                            460
    Our female menials, and come forth; attend
    My father; he hath somewhat for thine ear.
      So he; nor flew his words useless away,
    For, throwing wide the portal, forth she came,
    And, by Telemachus conducted, found
    Ere long Ulysses amid all the slain,
    With blood defiled and dust; dread he appear'd
    As from the pastur'd ox newly-devoured
    The lion stalking back; his ample chest
    With gory drops and his broad cheeks are hung,                   470
    Tremendous spectacle! such seem'd the Chief,
    Blood-stain'd all over. She, the carnage spread
    On all sides seeing, and the pools of blood,
    Felt impulse forcible to publish loud
    That wond'rous triumph; but her Lord repress'd
    The shout of rapture ere it burst abroad,
    And in wing'd accents thus his will enforced.
      Silent exult, O ancient matron dear!
    Shout not, be still. Unholy is the voice
    Of loud thanksgiving over slaughter'd men.                       480
    Their own atrocious deeds and the Gods' will
    Have slain all these; for whether noble guest
    Arrived or base, they scoff'd at all alike,
    And for their wickedness have, therefore, died.
    But say; of my domestic women, who
    Have scorn'd me, and whom find'st thou innocent?
      To whom good Euryclea thus replied.
    My son! I will declare the truth; thou keep'st
    Female domestics fifty in thy house,
    Whom we have made intelligent to comb                            490
    The fleece, and to perform whatever task.
    Of these, twice six have overpass'd the bounds
    Of modesty, respecting neither me,
    Nor yet the Queen; and thy own son, adult
    So lately, no permission had from her
    To regulate the women of her train.
    But I am gone, I fly with what hath pass'd
    To the Queen's ear, who nought suspects, so sound
    She sleeps, by some divinity composed.
      Then answer, thus, Ulysses wise returned.                      500
    Hush, and disturb her not. Go. Summon first
    Those wantons, who have long deserved to die.
      He ceas'd; then issued forth the ancient dame
    To summon those bad women, and, meantime,
    Calling his son, Philœtius, and Eumæus,
    Ulysses in wing'd accents thus began.
      Bestir ye, and remove the dead; command
    Those women also to your help; then cleanse
    With bibulous sponges and with water all
    The seats and tables; when ye shall have thus                    510
    Set all in order, lead those women forth,
    And in the centre of the spacious court,
    Between the scull'ry and the outer-wall
    Smite them with your broad faulchions till they lose
    In death the mem'ry of their secret loves
    Indulged with wretches lawless as themselves.
      He ended, and the damsels came at once
    All forth, lamenting, and with tepid tears
    Show'ring the ground; with mutual labour, first,
    Bearing the bodies forth into the court,                         520
    They lodged them in the portico; meantime
    Ulysses, stern, enjoin'd them haste, and, urged
    By sad necessity, they bore all out.
    With sponges and with water, next, they cleansed
    The thrones and tables, while Telemachus
    Beesom'd the floor, Eumæus in that work
    Aiding him and the keeper of the beeves,
    And those twelve damsels bearing forth the soil.
    Thus, order giv'n to all within, they, next,
    Led forth the women, whom they shut between                      530
    The scull'ry and the outer-wall in close
    Durance, from which no pris'ner could escape,
    And thus Telemachus discrete began.
      An honourable death is not for these
    By my advice, who have so often heap'd
    Reproach on mine and on my mother's head,
    And held lewd commerce with the suitor-train.
      He said, and noosing a strong galley-rope
    To an huge column, led the cord around
    The spacious dome, suspended so aloft                            540
    That none with quiv'ring feet might reach the floor.
    As when a flight of doves ent'ring the copse,
    Or broad-wing'd thrushes, strike against the net
    Within, ill rest, entangled, there they find,
    So they, suspended by the neck, expired
    All in one line together. Death abhorr'd!
    With restless feet awhile they beat the air,
    Then ceas'd. And now through vestibule and hall
    They led Melanthius forth. With ruthless steel
    They pared away his ears and nose, pluck'd forth                 550
    His parts of shame, destin'd to feed the dogs,
    And, still indignant, lopp'd his hands and feet.
    Then, laving each his feet and hands, they sought
    Again Ulysses; all their work was done,
    And thus the Chief to Euryclea spake.
      Bring blast-averting sulphur, nurse, bring fire!
    That I may fumigate my walls; then bid
    Penelope with her attendants down,
    And summon all the women of her train.
      But Euryclea, thus, his nurse, replied.                        560
    My son! thou hast well said; yet will I first
    Serve thee with vest and mantle. Stand not here
    In thy own palace cloath'd with tatters foul
    And beggarly--she will abhor the sight.
      Then answer thus Ulysses wise return'd.
    Not so. Bring fire for fumigation first.
      He said; nor Euryclea his lov'd nurse
    Longer delay'd, but sulphur brought and fire,
    When he with purifying steams, himself,
    Visited ev'ry part, the banquet-room,                            570
    The vestibule, the court. Ranging meantime
    His house magnificent, the matron call'd
    The women to attend their Lord in haste,
    And they attended, bearing each a torch.
    Then gather'd they around him all, sincere
    Welcoming his return; with close embrace
    Enfolding him, each kiss'd his brows, and each
    His shoulders, and his hands lock'd fast in hers.
    He, irresistible the impulse felt
    To sigh and weep, well recognizing all.                          580


FOOTNOTES:

[103] If the ancients found it difficult to ascertain clearly the
situation of this ορτοθυρη, well may we. The Translator has given it the
position which to him appeared most probable.--There seem to have been
two of these posterns, one leading to a part from which the town might be
alarmed, the other to the chamber to which Telemachus went for armour.
There was one, perhaps, on each side of the portal, and they appear to
have been at some height above the floor.

[104] At which Ulysses stood.

[105] The deviation of three only is described, which must be understood,
therefore, as instances of the ill success of all.

[106] In this simile we seem to have a curious account of the ancient
manner of fowling. The nets (for νεφεα is used in that sense by
Aristophanes) were spread on a plain; on an adjoining rising ground were
stationed they who had charge of the vultures (such Homer calls them)
which were trained to the sport. The alarm being given to the birds
below, the vultures were loosed, when if any of them escaped their
talons, the nets were ready to enclose them. _See_ Eustathius Dacier.
Clarke.

[107] So called because he was worshipped within the Ἐρκος or wall that
surrounded the court.




BOOK XXIII

ARGUMENT

Ulysses with some difficulty, convinces Penelope of his identity, who at
length, overcome by force of evidence, receives him to her arms with
transport. He entertains her with a recital of his adventures, and in his
narration the principal events of the poem are recapitulated. In the
morning, Ulysses, Telemachus, the herdsman and the swine-herd depart into
the country.


    And now, with exultation loud the nurse
    Again ascended, eager to apprize
    The Queen of her Ulysses' safe return;
    Joy braced her knees, with nimbleness of youth
    She stepp'd, and at her ear, her thus bespake.
      Arise, Penelope! dear daughter, see
    With thy own eyes thy daily wish fulfill'd.
    Ulysses is arrived; hath reach'd at last
    His native home, and all those suitors proud
    Hath slaughter'd, who his family distress'd,                      10
    His substance wasted, and controul'd his son.
      To whom Penelope discrete replied.
    Dear nurse! the Gods have surely ta'en away
    Thy judgment; they transform the wise to fools,
    And fools conduct to wisdom, and have marr'd
    Thy intellect, who wast discrete before.
    Why wilt thou mock me, wretched as I am,
    With tales extravagant? and why disturb
    Those slumbers sweet that seal'd so fast mine eyes?
    For such sweet slumbers have I never known                        20
    Since my Ulysses on his voyage sail'd
    To that bad city never to be named.
    Down instant to thy place again--begone--
    For had another of my maidens dared
    Disturb my sleep with tidings wild as these,
    I had dismiss'd her down into the house
    More roughly; but thine age excuses _thee_.
      To whom the venerable matron thus.
    I mock thee not, my child; no--he is come--
    Himself, Ulysses, even as I say,                                  30
    That stranger, object of the scorn of all.
    Telemachus well knew his sire arrived,
    But prudently conceal'd the tidings, so
    To insure the more the suitors' punishment.
      So Euryclea she transported heard,
    And springing from the bed, wrapp'd in her arms
    The ancient woman shedding tears of joy,
    And in wing'd accents ardent thus replied.
      Ah then, dear nurse inform me! tell me true!
    Hath he indeed arriv'd as thou declar'st?                         40
    How dared he to assail alone that band
    Of shameless ones, for ever swarming here?
      Then Euryclea, thus, matron belov'd.
    I nothing saw or knew; but only heard
    Groans of the wounded; in th' interior house
    We trembling sat, and ev'ry door was fast.
    Thus all remain'd till by his father sent,
    Thy own son call'd me forth. Going, I found
    Ulysses compass'd by the slaughter'd dead.
    They cover'd wide the pavement, heaps on heaps.                   50
    It would have cheer'd thy heart to have beheld
    Thy husband lion-like with crimson stains
    Of slaughter and of dust all dappled o'er;
    Heap'd in the portal, at this moment, lie
    Their bodies, and he fumigates, meantime,
    The house with sulphur and with flames of fire,
    And hath, himself, sent me to bid thee down.
    Follow me, then, that ye may give your hearts
    To gladness, both, for ye have much endured;
    But the event, so long your soul's desire,                        60
    Is come; himself hath to his household Gods
    Alive return'd, thee and his son he finds
    Unharm'd and at your home, nor hath he left
    Unpunish'd one of all his enemies.
      Her answer'd, then, Penelope discrete.
    Ah dearest nurse! indulge not to excess
    This dang'rous triumph. Thou art well apprized
    How welcome his appearance here would prove
    To all, but chief, to me, and to his son,
    Fruit of our love. But these things are not so;                   70
    Some God, resentful of their evil deeds,
    And of their biting contumely severe,
    Hath slain those proud; for whether noble guest
    Arrived or base, alike they scoff'd at all,
    And for their wickedness have therefore died.
    But my Ulysses distant far, I know,
    From Greece hath perish'd, and returns no more.
      To whom thus Euryclea, nurse belov'd.
    What word my daughter had escaped thy lips,
    Who thus affirm'st thy husband, now within                        80
    And at his own hearth-side, for ever lost?
    Canst thou be thus incredulous? Hear again--
    I give thee yet proof past dispute, his scar
    Imprinted by a wild-boar's iv'ry tusk.
    Laving him I remark'd it, and desired,
    Myself, to tell thee, but he, ever-wise,
    Compressing with both hands my lips, forbad.
    Come, follow me. My life shall be the pledge.
    If I deceive thee, kill me as thou wilt.
      To whom Penelope, discrete, replied.                            90
    Ah, dearest nurse, sagacious as thou art,
    Thou little know'st to scan the counsels wise
    Of the eternal Gods. But let us seek
    My son, however, that I may behold
    The suitors dead, and him by whom they died.
      So saying, she left her chamber, musing much
    In her descent, whether to interrogate
    Her Lord apart, or whether to imprint,
    At once, his hands with kisses and his brows.
    O'erpassing light the portal-step of stone                       100
    She enter'd. He sat opposite, illumed
    By the hearth's sprightly blaze, and close before
    A pillar of the dome, waiting with eyes
    Downcast, till viewing him, his noble spouse
    Should speak to him; but she sat silent long,
    Her faculties in mute amazement held.
    By turns she riveted her eyes on his,
    And, seeing him so foul attired, by turns
    She recognized him not; then spake her son
    Telemachus, and her silence thus reprov'd.                       110
      My mother! ah my hapless and my most
    Obdurate mother! wherefore thus aloof
    Shunn'st thou my father, neither at his side
    Sitting affectionate, nor utt'ring word?
    Another wife lives not who could endure
    Such distance from her husband new-return'd
    To his own country in the twentieth year,
    After much hardship; but thy heart is still
    As ever, less impressible than stone,
      To whom Penelope, discrete, replied.                           120
    I am all wonder, O my son; my soul
    Is stunn'd within me; pow'r to speak to him
    Or to interrogate him have I none,
    Or ev'n to look on him; but if indeed
    He be Ulysses, and have reach'd his home,
    I shall believe it soon, by proof convinced
    Of signs known only to himself and me.
      She said; then smiled the Hero toil-inured,
    And in wing'd accents thus spake to his son.
      Leave thou, Telemachus, thy mother here                        130
    To sift and prove me; she will know me soon
    More certainly; she sees me ill-attired
    And squalid now; therefore she shews me scorn,
    And no belief hath yet that I am he.
    But we have need, thou and myself, of deep
    Deliberation. If a man have slain
    One only citizen, who leaves behind
    Few interested to avenge his death,
    Yet, flying, he forsakes both friends and home;
    But we have slain the noblest Princes far                        140
    Of Ithaca, on whom our city most
    Depended; therefore, I advise thee, think!
      Him, prudent, then answer'd Telemachus.
      Be that thy care, my father! for report
    Proclaims _thee_ shrewdest of mankind, with whom
    In ingenuity may none compare.
    Lead thou; to follow thee shall be our part
    With prompt alacrity; nor shall, I judge,
    Courage be wanting to our utmost force.
      Thus then replied Ulysses, ever-wise.                          150
    To me the safest counsel and the best
    Seems this. First wash yourselves, and put ye on
    Your tunics; bid ye, next, the maidens take
    Their best attire, and let the bard divine
    Harping melodious play a sportive dance,
    That, whether passenger or neighbour near,
    All may imagine nuptials held within.
    So shall not loud report that we have slain
    All those, alarm the city, till we gain
    Our woods and fields, where, once arriv'd, such plans            160
    We will devise, as Jove shall deign to inspire.
      He spake, and all, obedient, in the bath
    First laved themselves, then put their tunics on;
    The damsels also dress'd, and the sweet bard,
    Harping melodious, kindled strong desire
    In all, of jocund song and graceful dance.
    The palace under all its vaulted roof
    Remurmur'd to the feet of sportive youths
    And cinctured maidens, while no few abroad,
    Hearing such revelry within, remark'd--                          170
      The Queen with many wooers, weds at last.
    Ah fickle and unworthy fair! too frail
    Always to keep inviolate the house
    Of her first Lord, and wait for his return.
      So spake the people; but they little knew
    What had befall'n. Eurynome, meantime,
    With bath and unction serv'd the illustrious Chief
    Ulysses, and he saw himself attired
    Royally once again in his own house.
    Then, Pallas over all his features shed                          180
    Superior beauty, dignified his form
    With added amplitude, and pour'd his curls
    Like hyacinthine flow'rs down from his brows.
    As when some artist by Minerva made
    And Vulcan, wise to execute all tasks
    Ingenious, borders silver with a wreath
    Of gold, accomplishing a graceful work,
    Such grace the Goddess o'er his ample chest
    Copious diffused, and o'er his manly brows.
    He, godlike, stepping from the bath, resumed                     190
    His former seat magnificent, and sat
    Opposite to the Queen, to whom he said.
      Penelope! the Gods to thee have giv'n
    Of all thy sex, the most obdurate heart.
    Another wife lives not who could endure
    Such distance from her husband new-return'd
    To his own country in the twentieth year,
    After such hardship. But prepare me, nurse,
    A bed, for solitary I must sleep,
    Since she is iron, and feels not for me.                         200
      Him answer'd then prudent Penelope.
    I neither magnify thee, sir! nor yet
    Depreciate thee, nor is my wonder such
    As hurries me at once into thy arms,
    Though my remembrance perfectly retains,
    Such as he was, Ulysses, when he sail'd
    On board his bark from Ithaca--Go, nurse,
    Prepare his bed, but not within the walls
    Of his own chamber built with his own hands.
    Spread it without, and spread it well with warm                  210
    Mantles, with fleeces, and with richest rugs.
      So spake she, proving him,[108] and not untouch'd
    With anger at that word, thus he replied.
      Penelope, that order grates my ear.
    Who hath displaced my bed? The task were hard
    E'en to an artist; other than a God
    None might with ease remove it; as for man,
    It might defy the stoutest in his prime
    Of youth, to heave it to a different spot.
    For in that bed elaborate, a sign,                               220
    A special sign consists; I was myself
    The artificer; I fashion'd it alone.
    Within the court a leafy olive grew
    Lofty, luxuriant, pillar-like in girth.
    Around this tree I built, with massy stones
    Cemented close, my chamber, roof'd it o'er,
    And hung the glutinated portals on.
    I lopp'd the ample foliage and the boughs,
    And sev'ring near the root its solid bole,
    Smooth'd all the rugged stump with skilful hand,                 230
    And wrought it to a pedestal well squared
    And modell'd by the line. I wimbled, next,
    The frame throughout, and from the olive-stump
    Beginning, fashion'd the whole bed above
    Till all was finish'd, plated o'er with gold,
    With silver, and with ivory, and beneath
    Close interlaced with purple cordage strong.
    Such sign I give thee. But if still it stand
    Unmoved, or if some other, sev'ring sheer
    The olive from its bottom, have displaced                        240
    My bed--that matter is best known to thee.
      He ceas'd; she, conscious of the sign so plain
    Giv'n by Ulysses, heard with flutt'ring heart
    And fault'ring knees that proof. Weeping she ran
    Direct toward him, threw her arms around
    The Hero, kiss'd his forehead, and replied.
      Ah my Ulysses! pardon me--frown not--
    Thou, who at other times hast ever shewn
    Superior wisdom! all our griefs have flow'd
    From the Gods' will; they envied us the bliss                    250
    Of undivided union sweet enjoy'd
    Through life, from early youth to latest age.
    No. Be not angry now; pardon the fault
    That I embraced thee not as soon as seen,
    For horror hath not ceased to overwhelm
    My soul, lest some false alien should, perchance,
    Beguile me, for our house draws num'rous such.
    Jove's daughter, Argive Helen, ne'er had given
    Free entertainment to a stranger's love,
    Had she foreknown that the heroic sons                           260
    Of Greece would bring her to her home again.
    But heav'n incited her to that offence,
    Who never, else, had even in her thought
    Harbour'd the foul enormity, from which
    Originated even our distress.
    But now, since evident thou hast described
    Our bed, which never mortal yet beheld,
    Ourselves except and Actoris my own
    Attendant, giv'n me when I left my home
    By good Icarius, and who kept the door,                          270
    Though hard to be convinced, at last I yield.
      So saying, she awaken'd in his soul
    Pity and grief; and folding in his arms
    His blameless consort beautiful, he wept.
    Welcome as land appears to those who swim,
    Whose gallant bark Neptune with rolling waves
    And stormy winds hath sunk in the wide sea,
    A mariner or two, perchance, escape
    The foamy flood, and, swimming, reach the land,
    Weary indeed, and with incrusted brine                           280
    All rough, but oh, how glad to climb the coast!
    So welcome in her eyes Ulysses seem'd,
    Around whose neck winding her snowy arms,
    She clung as she would loose him never more.
    Thus had they wept till rosy-finger'd morn
    Had found them weeping, but Minerva check'd
    Night's almost finish'd course, and held, meantime,
    The golden dawn close pris'ner in the Deep,
    Forbidding her to lead her coursers forth,
    Lampus and Phaëton that furnish light                            290
    To all the earth, and join them to the yoke.
    Then thus, Ulysses to Penelope.
      My love; we have not yet attain'd the close
    Of all our sufferings, but unmeasured toil
    Arduous remains, which I must still atchieve.
    For so the spirit of the Theban seer
    Inform'd me, on that day, when to enquire
    Of mine and of my people's safe return
    I journey'd down to Pluto's drear abode.
    But let us hence to bed, there to enjoy                          300
    Tranquil repose. My love, make no delay.
      Him answer'd then prudent Penelope.
    Thou shalt to bed at whatsoever time
    Thy soul desires, since the immortal Gods
    Give thee to me and to thy home again.
    But, thou hast spoken from the seer of Thebes
    Of arduous toils yet unperform'd; declare
    What toils? Thou wilt disclose them, as I judge,
    Hereafter, and why not disclose them now?
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.                           310
    Ah conversant with woe! why would'st thou learn
    That tale? but I will tell it thee at large.
    Thou wilt not hear with joy, nor shall myself
    With joy rehearse it; for he bade me seek
    City after city, bearing, as I go,
    A shapely oar, till I shall find, at length,
    A people who the sea know not, nor eat
    Food salted; they trim galley crimson-prow'd
    Have ne'er beheld, nor yet smooth-shaven oar
    With which the vessel wing'd scuds o'er the waves.               320
    He gave me also this authentic sign,
    Which I will tell thee. In what place soe'er
    I chance to meet a trav'ler who shall name
    The oar on my broad shoulder borne, a van;[109]
    He bade me, planting it on the same spot,
    Worship the King of Ocean with a bull,
    A ram, and a lascivious boar, then seek
    My home again, and sacrifice at home
    An hecatomb to the immortal Gods
    Inhabitants of the expanse above.                                330
    So shall I die, at length, the gentlest death
    Remote from Ocean; it shall find me late,
    In soft serenity of age, the Chief
    Of a blest people.--Thus he prophesied.
      Him answer'd then Penelope discrete.
    If heav'n appoint thee in old age a lot
    More tranquil, hope thence springs of thy escape
    Some future day from all thy threaten'd woes.
      Such was their mutual conf'rence sweet; meantime
    Eurynome and Euryclea dress'd                                    340
    Their bed by light of the clear torch, and when
    Dispatchful they had spread it broad and deep,
    The ancient nurse to her own bed retired.
    Then came Eurynome, to whom in trust
    The chambers appertain'd, and with a torch
    Conducted them to rest; she introduced
    The happy pair, and went; transported they
    To rites connubial intermitted long,
    And now recover'd, gave themselves again.[110]
    Meantime, the Prince, the herdsman, and the good                 350
    Eumæus, giving rest each to his feet,
    Ceased from the dance; they made the women cease
    Also, and to their sev'ral chambers all
    Within the twilight edifice repair'd.
      At length, with conjugal endearment both
    Satiate, Ulysses tasted and his spouse
    The sweets of mutual converse. She rehearsed,
    Noblest of women, all her num'rous woes
    Beneath that roof sustain'd, while she beheld
    The profligacy of the suitor-throng,                             360
    Who in their wooing had consumed his herds
    And fatted flocks, and drawn his vessels dry;
    While brave Ulysses, in his turn, to her
    Related his successes and escapes,
    And his afflictions also; he told her all;
    She listen'd charm'd, nor slumber on his eyes
    Fell once, or ere he had rehearsed the whole.
    Beginning, he discoursed, how, at the first
    He conquer'd in Ciconia, and thence reach'd
    The fruitful shores of the Lotophagi;                            370
    The Cyclops' deeds he told her next, and how
    He well avenged on him his slaughter'd friends
    Whom, pitiless, the monster had devour'd.
    How to the isle of Æolus he came,
    Who welcom'd him and safe dismiss'd him thence,
    Although not destin'd to regain so soon
    His native land; for o'er the fishy deep
    Loud tempests snatch'd him sighing back again.
    How, also at Telepylus he arrived,
    Town of the Læstrygonians, who destroyed                         380
    His ships with all their mariners, his own
    Except, who in his sable bark escaped.
    Of guileful Circe too he spake, deep-skill'd
    In various artifice, and how he reach'd
    With sails and oars the squalid realms of death,
    Desirous to consult the prophet there
    Theban Tiresias, and how there he view'd
    All his companions, and the mother bland
    Who bare him, nourisher of his infant years.
    How, next he heard the Sirens in one strain                      390
    All chiming sweet, and how he reach'd the rocks
    Erratic, Scylla and Charybdis dire,
    Which none secure from injury may pass.
    Then, how the partners of his voyage slew
    The Sun's own beeves, and how the Thund'rer Jove
    Hurl'd down his smoky bolts into his bark,
    Depriving him at once of all his crew,
    Whose dreadful fate he yet, himself, escaped.
    How to Ogygia's isle he came, where dwelt
    The nymph Calypso, who, enamour'd, wish'd                        400
    To espouse him, and within her spacious grot
    Detain'd, and fed, and promis'd him a life
    Exempt for ever from the sap of age,
    But him moved not. How, also, he arrived
    After much toil, on the Phæacian coast,
    Where ev'ry heart revered him as a God,
    And whence, enriching him with brass and gold,
    And costly raiment first, they sent him home.
    At this last word, oblivious slumber sweet
    Fell on him, dissipating all his cares.                          410
      Meantime, Minerva, Goddess azure-eyed,
    On other thoughts intent, soon as she deem'd
    Ulysses with connubial joys sufficed,
    And with sweet sleep, at once from Ocean rous'd
    The golden-axled chariot of the morn
    To illumine earth. Then from his fleecy couch
    The Hero sprang, and thus his spouse enjoined.
      Oh consort dear! already we have striv'n
    Against our lot, till wearied with the toil,
    My painful absence, thou with ceaseless tears                    420
    Deploring, and myself in deep distress
    Withheld reluctant from my native shores
    By Jove and by the other pow'rs of heav'n.
    But since we have in this delightful bed
    Met once again, watch thou and keep secure
    All my domestic treasures, and ere long
    I will replace my num'rous sheep destroy'd
    By those imperious suitors, and the Greeks
    Shall add yet others till my folds be fill'd.
    But to the woodlands go I now--to see                            430
    My noble father, who for my sake mourns
    Continual; as for thee, my love, although
    I know thee wise, I give thee thus in charge.
    The sun no sooner shall ascend, than fame
    Shall wide divulge the deed that I have done,
    Slaying the suitors under my own roof.
    Thou, therefore, with thy maidens, sit retired
    In thy own chamber at the palace-top,
    Nor question ask, nor, curious, look abroad.
      He said, and cov'ring with his radiant arms                    440
    His shoulders, called Telemachus; he roused
    Eumæus and the herdsman too, and bade
    All take their martial weapons in their hand.
    Not disobedient they, as he enjoin'd,
    Put armour on, and issued from the gates
    Ulysses at their head. The earth was now
    Enlighten'd, but Minerva them in haste
    Led forth into the fields, unseen by all.


FOOTNOTES:

[108] The proof consisted in this--that the bed being attached to the
stump of an olive tree still rooted, was immovable, and Ulysses having
made it himself, no person present, he must needs be apprized of the
impossibility of her orders, if he were indeed Ulysses; accordingly, this
demonstration of his identity satisfies all her scruples.

[109] See the note on the same passage, Book XI.

[110] Aristophanes the grammarian and Aristarchus chose that the Odyssey
should end here; but the story is not properly concluded till the tumult
occasioned by the slaughter of so many Princes being composed, Ulysses
finds himself once more in peaceful possession of his country.




BOOK XXIV

ARGUMENT

Mercury conducts the souls of the suitors down to Ades. Ulysses discovers
himself to Laertes, and quells, by the aid of Minerva, an insurrection of
the people resenting the death of the suitors.


    And now Cyllenian Hermes summon'd forth
    The spirits of the suitors; waving wide
    The golden wand of pow'r to seal all eyes
    In slumber, and to ope them wide again,
    He drove them gibb'ring down into the shades,[111]
    As when the bats within some hallow'd cave
    Flit squeaking all around, for if but one
    Fall from the rock, the rest all follow him,
    In such connexion mutual they adhere,
    So, after bounteous Mercury, the ghosts,                          10
    Troop'd downward gibb'ring all the dreary way.[111]
    The Ocean's flood and the Leucadian rock,
    The Sun's gate also and the land of Dreams
    They pass'd, whence, next, into the meads they came
    Of Asphodel, by shadowy forms possess'd,
    Simulars of the dead. They found the souls
    Of brave Pelides there, and of his friend
    Patroclus, of Antilochus renown'd,
    And of the mightier Ajax, for his form
    And bulk (Achilles sole except) of all                            20
    The sons of the Achaians most admired.
    These waited on Achilles. Then, appear'd
    The mournful ghost of Agamemnon, son
    Of Atreus, compass'd by the ghosts of all
    Who shared his fate beneath Ægisthus' roof,
    And him the ghost of Peleus' son bespake.
      Atrides! of all Heroes we esteem'd
    Thee dearest to the Gods, for that thy sway
    Extended over such a glorious host
    At Ilium, scene of sorrow to the Greeks.                          30
    But Fate, whose ruthless force none may escape
    Of all who breathe, pursued thee from the first.
    Thou should'st have perish'd full of honour, full
    Of royalty, at Troy; so all the Greeks
    Had rais'd thy tomb, and thou hadst then bequeath'd
    Great glory to thy son; but Fate ordain'd
    A death, oh how deplorable! for thee.
      To whom Atrides' spirit thus replied.
    Blest son of Peleus, semblance of the Gods,
    At Ilium, far from Argos, fall'n! for whom                        40
    Contending, many a Trojan, many a Chief
    Of Greece died also, while in eddies whelm'd
    Of dust thy vastness spread the plain,[112] nor thee
    The chariot aught or steed could int'rest more!
    All day we waged the battle, nor at last
    Desisted, but for tempests sent from Jove.
    At length we bore into the Greecian fleet
    Thy body from the field; there, first, we cleansed
    With tepid baths and oil'd thy shapely corse,
    Then placed thee on thy bier, while many a Greek                  50
    Around thee wept, and shore his locks for thee.
    Thy mother, also, hearing of thy death
    With her immortal nymphs from the abyss
    Arose and came; terrible was the sound
    On the salt flood; a panic seized the Greeks,
    And ev'ry warrior had return'd on board
    That moment, had not Nestor, ancient Chief,
    Illumed by long experience, interposed,
    His counsels, ever wisest, wisest proved
    Then also, and he thus address'd the host.                        60
      Sons of Achaia; fly not; stay, ye Greeks!
    Thetis arrives with her immortal nymphs
    From the abyss, to visit her dead son.
      So he; and, by his admonition stay'd,
    The Greeks fled not. Then, all around thee stood
    The daughters of the Ancient of the Deep,
    Mourning disconsolate; with heav'nly robes
    They clothed thy corse, and all the Muses nine
    Deplored thee in full choir with sweetest tones
    Responsive, nor one Greecian hadst thou seen                      70
    Dry-eyed, such grief the Muses moved in all.
    Full sev'nteen days we, day and night, deplored
    Thy death, both Gods in heav'n and men below,
    But, on the eighteenth day, we gave thy corse
    Its burning, and fat sheep around thee slew
    Num'rous, with many a pastur'd ox moon-horn'd.
    We burn'd thee clothed in vesture of the Gods,
    With honey and with oil feeding the flames
    Abundant, while Achaia's Heroes arm'd,
    Both horse and foot, encompassing thy pile,                       80
    Clash'd on their shields, and deaf'ning was the din.
    But when the fires of Vulcan had at length
    Consumed thee, at the dawn we stored thy bones
    In unguent and in undiluted wine;
    For Thetis gave to us a golden vase
    Twin-ear'd, which she profess'd to have received
    From Bacchus, work divine of Vulcan's hand.
    Within that vase, Achilles, treasured lie
    Thine and the bones of thy departed friend
    Patroclus, but a sep'rate urn we gave                             90
    To those of brave Antilochus, who most
    Of all thy friends at Ilium shared thy love
    And thy respect, thy friend Patroclus slain.
    Around both urns we piled a noble tomb,
    (We warriors of the sacred Argive host)
    On a tall promontory shooting far
    Into the spacious Hellespont, that all
    Who live, and who shall yet be born, may view
    Thy record, even from the distant waves.
    Then, by permission from the Gods obtain'd,                      100
    To the Achaian Chiefs in circus met
    Thetis appointed games. I have beheld
    The burial rites of many an Hero bold,
    When, on the death of some great Chief, the youths
    Girding their loins anticipate the prize,
    But sight of those with wonder fill'd me most,
    So glorious past all others were the games
    By silver-footed Thetis giv'n for thee,
    For thou wast ever favour'd of the Gods.
    Thus, hast thou not, Achilles! although dead,                    110
    Foregone thy glory, but thy fair report
    Is universal among all mankind;
    But, as for me, what recompense had I,
    My warfare closed? for whom, at my return,
    Jove framed such dire destruction by the hands
    Of fell Ægisthus and my murth'ress wife.
      Thus, mutual, they conferr'd; meantime approach'd,
    Swift messenger of heav'n, the Argicide,
    Conducting thither all the shades of those
    Slain by Ulysses. At that sight amazed                           120
    Both moved toward them. Agamemnon's shade
    Knew well Amphimedon, for he had been
    Erewhile his father's guest in Ithaca,
    And thus the spirit of Atreus' son began.
      Amphimedon! by what disastrous chance,
    Coœvals as ye seem, and of an air
    Distinguish'd all, descend ye to the Deeps?
    For not the chosen youths of a whole town
    Should form a nobler band. Perish'd ye sunk
    Amid vast billows and rude tempests raised                       130
    By Neptune's pow'r? or on dry land through force
    Of hostile multitudes, while cutting off
    Beeves from the herd, or driving flocks away?
    Or fighting for your city and your wives?
    Resolve me? I was once a guest of yours.
    Remember'st not what time at your abode
    With godlike Menelaus I arrived,
    That we might win Ulysses with his fleet
    To follow us to Troy? scarce we prevail'd
    At last to gain the city-waster Chief,                           140
    And, after all, consumed a whole month more
    The wide sea traversing from side to side.
      To whom the spirit of Amphimedon.
    Illustrious Agamemnon, King of men!
    All this I bear in mind, and will rehearse
    The manner of our most disastrous end.
    Believing brave Ulysses lost, we woo'd
    Meantime his wife; she our detested suit
    Would neither ratify nor yet refuse,
    But, planning for us a tremendous death,                         150
    This novel stratagem, at last, devised.
    Beginning, in her own recess, a web
    Of slend'rest thread, and of a length and breadth
    Unusual, thus the suitors she address'd.
      Princes, my suitors! since the noble Chief
    Ulysses is no more, enforce not yet
    My nuptials; wait till I shall finish first
    A fun'ral robe (lest all my threads decay)
    Which for the ancient Hero I prepare,
    Laertes, looking for the mournful hour                           160
    When fate shall snatch him to eternal rest;
    Else, I the censure dread of all my sex,
    Should he so wealthy, want at last a shroud.
      So spake the Queen; we, unsuspicious all,
    With her request complied. Thenceforth, all day
    She wove the ample web, and by the aid
    Of torches ravell'd it again at night.
    Three years she thus by artifice our suit
    Eluded safe, but when the fourth arrived,
    And the same season, after many moons                            170
    And fleeting days, return'd, a damsel then
    Of her attendants, conscious of the fraud,
    Reveal'd it, and we found her pulling loose
    The splendid web. Thus, through constraint, at length,
    She finish'd it, and in her own despight.
    But when the Queen produced, at length, her work
    Finish'd, new-blanch'd, bright as the sun or moon,
    Then came Ulysses, by some adverse God
    Conducted, to a cottage on the verge
    Of his own fields, in which his swine-herd dwells;               180
    There also the illustrious Hero's son
    Arrived soon after, in his sable bark
    From sandy Pylus borne; they, plotting both
    A dreadful death for all the suitors, sought
    Our glorious city, but Ulysses last,
    And first Telemachus. The father came
    Conducted by his swine-herd, and attired
    In tatters foul; a mendicant he seem'd,
    Time-worn, and halted on a staff. So clad,
    And ent'ring on the sudden, he escaped                           190
    All knowledge even of our eldest there,
    And we reviled and smote him; he although
    Beneath his own roof smitten and reproach'd,
    With patience suffer'd it awhile, but roused
    By inspiration of Jove Ægis-arm'd
    At length, in concert with his son convey'd
    To his own chamber his resplendent arms,
    There lodg'd them safe, and barr'd the massy doors
    Then, in his subtlety he bade the Queen
    A contest institute with bow and rings                           200
    Between the hapless suitors, whence ensued
    Slaughter to all. No suitor there had pow'r
    To overcome the stubborn bow that mock'd
    All our attempts; and when the weapon huge
    At length was offer'd to Ulysses' hands,
    With clamour'd menaces we bade the swain
    Withhold it from him, plead he as he might;
    Telemachus alone with loud command,
    Bade give it him, and the illustrious Chief
    Receiving in his hand the bow, with ease                         210
    Bent it, and sped a shaft through all the rings.
    Then, springing to the portal steps, he pour'd
    The arrows forth, peer'd terrible around,
    Pierced King Antinoüs, and, aiming sure
    His deadly darts, pierced others after him,
    Till in one common carnage heap'd we lay.
    Some God, as plain appear'd, vouchsafed them aid,
    Such ardour urged them, and with such dispatch
    They slew us on all sides; hideous were heard
    The groans of dying men fell'd to the earth                      220
    With head-strokes rude, and the floor swam with blood.
    Such, royal Agamemnon! was the fate
    By which we perish'd, all whose bodies lie
    Unburied still, and in Ulysses' house,
    For tidings none have yet our friends alarm'd
    And kindred, who might cleanse from sable gore
    Our clotted wounds, and mourn us on the bier,
    Which are the rightful privilege of the dead.
      Him answer'd, then, the shade of Atreus' son.
    Oh happy offspring of Laertes! shrewd                            230
    Ulysses! matchless valour thou hast shewn
    Recov'ring thus thy wife; nor less appears
    The virtue of Icarius' daughter wise,
    The chaste Penelope, so faithful found
    To her Ulysses, husband of her youth.
    His glory, by superior merit earn'd,
    Shall never die, and the immortal Gods
    Shall make Penelope a theme of song
    Delightful in the ears of all mankind.
    Not such was Clytemnestra, daughter vile                         240
    Of Tyndarus; she shed her husband's blood,
    And shall be chronicled in song a wife
    Of hateful memory, by whose offence
    Even the virtuous of her sex are shamed.
      Thus they, beneath the vaulted roof obscure
    Of Pluto's house, conferring mutual stood.
      Meantime, descending from the city-gates,
    Ulysses, by his son and by his swains
    Follow'd, arrived at the delightful farm
    Which old Laertes had with strenuous toil                        250
    Himself long since acquired. There stood his house
    Encompass'd by a bow'r in which the hinds
    Who served and pleased him, ate, and sat, and slept.
    An ancient woman, a Sicilian, dwelt
    There also, who in that sequester'd spot
    Attended diligent her aged Lord.
    Then thus Ulysses to his followers spake.
      Haste now, and, ent'ring, slay ye of the swine
    The best for our regale; myself, the while,
    Will prove my father, if his eye hath still                      260
    Discernment of me, or if absence long
    Have worn the knowledge of me from his mind.
      He said, and gave into his servants' care
    His arms; they swift proceeded to the house,
    And to the fruitful grove himself as swift
    To prove his father. Down he went at once
    Into the spacious garden-plot, but found
    Nor Dolius there, nor any of his sons
    Or servants; they were occupied elsewhere,
    And, with the ancient hind himself, employ'd                     270
    Collecting thorns with which to fence the grove.
    In that umbrageous spot he found alone
    Laertes, with his hoe clearing a plant;
    Sordid his tunic was, with many a patch
    Mended unseemly; leathern were his greaves,
    Thong-tied and also patch'd, a frail defence
    Against sharp thorns, while gloves secured his hands
    From briar-points, and on his head he bore
    A goat-skin casque, nourishing hopeless woe.
    No sooner then the Hero toil-inured                              280
    Saw him age-worn and wretched, than he paused
    Beneath a lofty pear-tree's shade to weep.
    There standing much he mused, whether, at once,
    Kissing and clasping in his arms his sire,
    To tell him all, by what means he had reach'd
    His native country, or to prove him first.
    At length, he chose as his best course, with words
    Of seeming strangeness to accost his ear,
    And, with that purpose, moved direct toward him.
    He, stooping low, loosen'd the earth around                      290
    A garden-plant, when his illustrious son
    Now, standing close beside him, thus began.
      Old sir! thou art no novice in these toils
    Of culture, but thy garden thrives; I mark
    In all thy ground no plant, fig, olive, vine,
    Pear-tree or flow'r-bed suff'ring through neglect.
    But let it not offend thee if I say
    That thou neglect'st thyself, at the same time
    Oppress'd with age, sun-parch'd and ill-attired.
    Not for thy inactivity, methinks,                                300
    Thy master slights thee thus, nor speaks thy form
    Or thy surpassing stature servile aught
    In thee, but thou resemblest more a King.
    Yes--thou resemblest one who, bathed and fed,
    Should softly sleep; such is the claim of age.
    But tell me true--for whom labourest thou,
    And whose this garden? answer me beside,
    For I would learn; have I indeed arrived
    In Ithaca, as one whom here I met
    Ev'n now assured me, but who seem'd a man                        310
    Not overwise, refusing both to hear
    My questions, and to answer when I ask'd
    Concerning one in other days my guest
    And friend, if he have still his being here,
    Or have deceas'd and journey'd to the shades.
    For I will tell thee; therefore mark. Long since
    A stranger reach'd my house in my own land,
    Whom I with hospitality receiv'd,
    Nor ever sojourn'd foreigner with me
    Whom I lov'd more. He was by birth, he said,                     320
    Ithacan, and Laertes claim'd his sire,
    Son of Arcesias. Introducing him
    Beneath my roof, I entertain'd him well,
    And proved by gifts his welcome at my board.
    I gave him seven talents of wrought gold,
    A goblet, argent all, with flow'rs emboss'd,
    Twelve single cloaks, twelve carpets, mantles twelve
    Of brightest lustre, with as many vests,
    And added four fair damsels, whom he chose
    Himself, well born and well accomplish'd all.                    330
      Then thus his ancient sire weeping replied.
    Stranger! thou hast in truth attain'd the isle
    Of thy enquiry, but it is possess'd
    By a rude race, and lawless. Vain, alas!
    Were all thy num'rous gifts; yet hadst thou found
    Him living here in Ithaca, with gifts
    Reciprocated he had sent thee hence,
    Requiting honourably in his turn
    Thy hospitality. But give me quick
    Answer and true. How many have been the years                    340
    Since thy reception of that hapless guest
    My son? for mine, my own dear son was he.
    But him, far distant both from friends and home,
    Either the fishes of the unknown Deep
    Have eaten, or wild beasts and fowls of prey,
    Nor I, or she who bare him, was ordain'd
    To bathe his shrouded body with our tears,
    Nor his chaste wife, well-dow'r'd Penelope
    To close her husband's eyes, and to deplore
    His doom, which is the privilege of the dead.                    350
    But tell me also thou, for I would learn,
    Who art thou? whence? where born? and sprung from whom?
    The bark in which thou and thy godlike friends
    Arrived, where is she anchor'd on our coast?
    Or cam'st thou only passenger on board
    Another's bark, who landed thee and went?
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    I will with all simplicity relate
    What thou hast ask'd. Of Alybas am I,
    Where in much state I dwell, son of the rich                     360
    Apheidas royal Polypemon's son,
    And I am named Eperitus; by storms
    Driven from Sicily I have arrived,
    And yonder, on the margin of the field
    That skirts your city, I have moor'd my bark.
    Five years have pass'd since thy Ulysses left,
    Unhappy Chief! my country; yet the birds
    At his departure hovered on the right,
    And in that sign rejoicing, I dismiss'd
    Him thence rejoicing also, for we hoped                          370
    To mix in social intercourse again,
    And to exchange once more pledges of love.
      He spake; then sorrow as a sable cloud
    Involved Laertes; gath'ring with both hands
    The dust, he pour'd it on his rev'rend head
    With many a piteous groan. Ulysses' heart
    Commotion felt, and his stretch'd nostrils throbb'd
    With agony close-pent, while fixt he eyed
    His father; with a sudden force he sprang
    Toward him, clasp'd, and kiss'd him, and exclaim'd.              380
      My father! I am he. Thou seest thy son
    Absent these twenty years at last return'd.
    But bid thy sorrow cease; suspend henceforth
    All lamentation; for I tell thee true,
    (And the occasion bids me briefly tell thee)
    I have slain all the suitors at my home,
    And all their taunts and injuries avenged.
      Then answer thus Laertes quick return'd.
    If thou hast come again, and art indeed
    My son Ulysses, give me then the proof                           390
    Indubitable, that I may believe.
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    View, first, the scar which with his iv'ry tusk
    A wild boar gave me, when at thy command
    And at my mother's, to Autolycus
    Her father, on Parnassus, I repair'd
    Seeking the gifts which, while a guest of yours,
    He promis'd should be mine. Accept beside
    This proof. I will enum'rate all the trees
    Which, walking with thee in this cultured spot                   400
    (Boy then) I begg'd, and thou confirm'dst my own.
    We paced between them, and thou mad'st me learn
    The name of each. Thou gav'st me thirteen pears,[113]
    Ten apples,[113] thirty figs,[113] and fifty ranks
    Didst promise me of vines, their alleys all
    Corn-cropp'd between. There, oft as sent from Jove
    The influences of the year descend,
    Grapes of all hues and flavours clust'ring hang.
      He said; Laertes, conscious of the proofs
    Indubitable by Ulysses giv'n,                                    410
    With fault'ring knees and fault'ring heart both arms
    Around him threw. The Hero toil-inured
    Drew to his bosom close his fainting sire,
    Who, breath recov'ring, and his scatter'd pow'rs
    Of intellect, at length thus spake aloud.
      Ye Gods! oh then your residence is still
    On the Olympian heights, if punishment
    At last hath seized on those flagitious men.
    But terrour shakes me, lest, incensed, ere long
    All Ithaca flock hither, and dispatch                            420
    Swift messengers with these dread tidings charged
    To ev'ry Cephallenian state around.
      Him answer'd then Ulysses ever-wise.
    Courage! fear nought, but let us to the house
    Beside the garden, whither I have sent
    Telemachus, the herdsman, and the good
    Eumæus to prepare us quick repast.
      So they conferr'd, and to Laertes' house
    Pass'd on together; there arrived, they found
    Those three preparing now their plenteous feast,                 430
    And mingling sable wine; then, by the hands
    Of his Sicilian matron, the old King
    Was bathed, anointed, and attired afresh,
    And Pallas, drawing nigh, dilated more
    His limbs, and gave his whole majestic form
    Encrease of amplitude. He left the bath.
    His son, amazed as he had seen a God
    Alighted newly from the skies, exclaim'd.
      My father! doubtless some immortal Pow'r
    Hath clothed thy form with dignity divine.                       440
      Then thus replied his venerable sire.
    Jove! Pallas! Phœbus! oh that I possess'd
    Such vigour now, as when in arms I took
    Nericus, continental city fair,
    With my brave Cephallenians! oh that such
    And arm'd as then, I yesterday had stood
    Beside thee in thy palace, combating
    Those suitors proud, then had I strew'd the floor
    With num'rous slain, to thy exceeding joy.
      Such was their conference; and now, the task                   450
    Of preparation ended, and the feast
    Set forth, on couches and on thrones they sat,
    And, ranged in order due, took each his share.
    Then, ancient Dolius, and with him, his sons
    Arrived toil-worn, by the Sicilian dame
    Summon'd, their cat'ress, and their father's kind
    Attendant ever in his eve of life.
    They, seeing and recalling soon to mind
    Ulysses, in the middle mansion stood
    Wond'ring, when thus Ulysses with a voice                        460
    Of some reproof, but gentle, them bespake.
      Old servant, sit and eat, banishing fear
    And mute amazement; for, although provoked
    By appetite, we have long time abstain'd,
    Expecting ev'ry moment thy return.
      He said; then Dolius with expanded arms
    Sprang right toward Ulysses, seized his hand,
    Kiss'd it, and in wing'd accents thus replied.
      Oh master ever dear! since thee the Gods
    Themselves in answer to our warm desires,                        470
    Have, unexpectedly, at length restored,
    Hail, and be happy, and heav'n make thee such!
    But say, and truly; knows the prudent Queen
    Already thy return, or shall we send
    Ourselves an herald with the joyful news?
      To whom Ulysses, ever-wise, replied.
    My ancient friend, thou may'st release thy mind
    From that solicitude; she knows it well.
      So he; then Dolius to his glossy seat
    Return'd, and all his sons gath'ring around                      480
    Ulysses, welcom'd him and grasp'd his hand,
    Then sat beside their father; thus beneath
    Laertes' roof they, joyful, took repast.
      But Fame with rapid haste the city roam'd
    In ev'ry part, promulging in all ears
    The suitors' horrid fate. No sooner heard
    The multitude that tale, than one and all
    Groaning they met and murmuring before
    Ulysses' gates. Bringing the bodies forth,
    They buried each his friend, but gave the dead                   490
    Of other cities to be ferried home
    By fishermen on board their rapid barks.
    All hasted then to council; sorrow wrung
    Their hearts, and, the assembly now convened,
    Arising first Eupithes spake, for grief
    Sat heavy on his soul, grief for the loss
    Of his Antinoüs by Ulysses slain
    Foremost of all, whom mourning, thus he said.
      My friends! no trivial fruits the Greecians reap
    Of this man's doings. _Those_ he took with him                   500
    On board his barks, a num'rous train and bold,
    Then lost his barks, lost all his num'rous train,
    And _these_, our noblest, slew at his return.
    Come therefore--ere he yet escape by flight
    To Pylus or to noble Elis, realm
    Of the Epeans, follow him; else shame
    Attends us and indelible reproach.
    If we avenge not on these men the blood
    Of our own sons and brothers, farewell then
    All that makes life desirable; my wish                           510
    Henceforth shall be to mingle with the shades.
    Oh then pursue and seize them ere they fly.
      Thus he with tears, and pity moved in all.
    Then, Medon and the sacred bard whom sleep
    Had lately left, arriving from the house
    Of Laertiades, approach'd; amid
    The throng they stood; all wonder'd seeing them,
    And Medon, prudent senior, thus began.
      Hear me, my countrymen! Ulysses plann'd
    With no disapprobation of the Gods                               520
    The deed that ye deplore. I saw, myself,
    A Pow'r immortal at the Hero's side,
    In semblance just of Mentor; now the God,
    In front apparent, led him on, and now,
    From side to side of all the palace, urged
    To flight the suitors; heaps on heaps they fell.
      He said; then terrour wan seiz'd ev'ry cheek,
    And Halitherses, Hero old, the son
    Of Mastor, who alone among them all
    Knew past, and future, prudent, thus began.                      530
      Now, O ye men of Ithaca! my words
    Attentive hear! by your own fault, my friends,
    This deed hath been perform'd; for when myself
    And noble Mentor counsell'd you to check
    The sin and folly of your sons, ye would not.
    Great was their wickedness, and flagrant wrong
    They wrought, the wealth devouring and the wife
    Dishonouring of an illustrious Chief
    Whom they deem'd destined never to return.
    But hear my counsel. Go not, lest ye draw                        540
    Disaster down and woe on your own heads.
      He ended; then with boist'rous roar (although
    Part kept their seats) upsprang the multitude,
    For Halitherses pleased them not, they chose
    Eupithes' counsel rather; all at once
    To arms they flew, and clad in dazzling brass
    Before the city form'd their dense array.
    Leader infatuate at their head appear'd
    Eupithes, hoping to avenge his son
    Antinoüs, but was himself ordain'd                               550
    To meet his doom, and to return no more.
    Then thus Minerva to Saturnian Jove.
      Oh father! son of Saturn! Jove supreme!
    Declare the purpose hidden in thy breast.
    Wilt thou that this hostility proceed,
    Or wilt thou grant them amity again?
      To whom the cloud-assembler God replied.
    Why asks my daughter? didst thou not design
    Thyself, that brave Ulysses coming home
    Should slay those profligates? act as thou wilt,                 560
    But thus I counsel, since the noble Chief
    Hath slain the suitors, now let peace ensue
    Oath-bound, and reign Ulysses evermore!
    The slaughter of their brethren and their sons
    To strike from their remembrance, shall be ours.
    Let mutual amity, as at the first,
    Unite them, and let wealth and peace abound.
      So saying, he animated to her task
    Minerva prompt before, and from the heights
    Olympian down to Ithaca she flew.                                570
    Meantime Ulysses (for their hunger now
    And thirst were sated) thus address'd his hinds.
      Look ye abroad, lest haply they approach.
    He said, and at his word, forth went a son
    Of Dolius; at the gate he stood, and thence
    Beholding all that multitude at hand,
    In accents wing'd thus to Ulysses spake.
      They come--they are already arrived--arm all!
    Then, all arising, put their armour on,
    Ulysses with his three, and the six sons                         580
    Of Dolius; Dolius also with the rest,
    Arm'd and Laertes, although silver-hair'd,
    Warriors perforce. When all were clad alike
    In radiant armour, throwing wide the gates
    They sallied, and Ulysses led the way.
    Then Jove's own daughter Pallas, in the form
    And with the voice of Mentor, came in view,
    Whom seeing Laertiades rejoiced,
    And thus Telemachus, his son, bespake.
      Now, oh my son! thou shalt observe, untold                     590
    By me, where fight the bravest. Oh shame not
    Thine ancestry, who have in all the earth
    Proof given of valour in all ages past.
      To whom Telemachus, discrete, replied.
    My father! if thou wish that spectacle,
    Thou shalt behold thy son, as thou hast said,
    In nought dishonouring his noble race.
      Then was Laertes joyful, and exclaim'd,
    What sun hath ris'n to-day?[114] oh blessed Gods!
    My son and grandson emulous dispute                              600
    The prize of glory, and my soul exults.
      He ended, and Minerva drawing nigh
    To the old King, thus counsell'd him. Oh friend
    Whom most I love, son of Arcesias! pray'r
    Preferring to the virgin azure-eyed,
    And to her father Jove, delay not, shake
    Thy lance in air, and give it instant flight.
      So saying, the Goddess nerved his arm anew.
    He sought in pray'r the daughter dread of Jove,
    And, brandishing it, hurl'd his lance; it struck                 610
    Eupithes, pierced his helmet brazen-cheek'd
    That stay'd it not, but forth it sprang beyond,
    And with loud clangor of his arms he fell.
    Then flew Ulysses and his noble son
    With faulchion and with spear of double edge
    To the assault, and of them all had left
    None living, none had to his home return'd,
    But that Jove's virgin daughter with a voice
    Of loud authority thus quell'd them all.
    Peace, O ye men of Ithaca! while yet                             620
    The field remains undeluged with your blood.
      So she, and fear at once paled ev'ry cheek.
    All trembled at the voice divine; their arms
    Escaping from the grasp fell to the earth,
    And, covetous of longer life, each fled
    Back to the city. Then Ulysses sent
    His voice abroad, and with an eagle's force
    Sprang on the people; but Saturnian Jove,
    Cast down, incontinent, his smouldring bolt
    At Pallas' feet, and thus the Goddess spake.                     630
      Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd!
    Forbear; abstain from slaughter; lest thyself
    Incur the anger of high thund'ring Jove.
      So Pallas, whom Ulysses, glad, obey'd.
    Then faithful covenants of peace between
    Both sides ensued, ratified in the sight
    Of Pallas progeny of Jove, who seem'd,
    In voice and form, the Mentor known to all.


FOOTNOTES:

[111]
    Τρίζουσαι--τετριγῦιαι--the ghosts
              Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.

    SHAKSPEARE.

[112]

    --Behemoth, biggest born of earth,
    Upheav'd his vastness.

    MILTON.

[113] The fruit is here used for the tree that bore it, as it is in the
Greek; the Latins used the same mode of expression, neither is it
uncommon in our own language.

[114] Τίς νύ μοι ἡμέρη ἥδε;--So Cicero, who seems to translate it--Proh
dii immortales! Quis hic illuxit dies! See Clarke in loco.


END OF THE ODYSSEY




NOTES


NOTE I.

Bk. x. l. 101-106 (Hom. x. l. 81-86).--It is held now that this passage
should be explained by the supposition that the Homeric bards had heard
tales of northern latitudes, where, in summer-time, the darkness was so
short that evening was followed almost at once by morning. Thus the
herdsman coming home in the twilight at one day's close might meet and
hail the shepherd who was starting betimes for the next day's work.

Line 86 in the Greek ought probably to be translated, "For the paths of
night and day are close together," _i.e._, the entrance of day follows
hard on the entrance of night.


NOTE II.

Bk. xi. l. 162, 163 (Hom. xi. l. 134, 135).--

              θάνατος δέ τοι ἐξ ἁλὸς αὐτῷ
    ἀβληχρὸς μάλα τοῖος ἐλεύσεται.

Others translate, "And from the sea shall thy own death come," suggesting
that Ulysses after all was lost at sea. This is the rendering followed by
Tennyson in his poem "Ulysses" (and see Dante, _Inferno_, Canto xxvi.).
It is a more natural translation of the Greek, and gives a far more
wonderful vista for the close of the Wanderer's life.


NOTE III.

Bk. xix. l. 712 (Hom. xix. l. 573).--The word πελέκεας, for which Cowper
gives as a paraphrase "spikes, crested with a ring," elsewhere means
_axes_, and ought so to be translated here. For since Cowper's day an
axe-head of the Mycenæan period has been discovered _with the blade
pierced_ so as to form a hole through which an arrow could pass. (See
Tsountas and Manatt, _The Mycenæan Age_.) Axes of this type were not
known to Cowper, and hence the hypothesis in his text. He realised
correctly the essential conditions of the feat proposed: the axes must
have been set up, one behind the other, in the way he suggested for his
ringed stakes.


NOTE IV.

Bk. xxii. l. 139-162 (Hom. xxii. l. 126-143).--How Melanthius got out of
the hall remains a puzzle. Cowper assumes a second postern, but there is
no evidence for this, and l. 139 ff. (l. 126 ff. in the Greek) suggest
rather strongly that there was only _one_. Unfortunately, the crucial
word ῥῶγες which occurs in the line describing Melanthius' exit is not
found elsewhere. "He went up," the poet says, "through the ῥῶγες of the
hall." Merry suggests that "he scrambled up to the loopholes that were
pierced in the wall." Others suppose that there was a ladder at the inner
end of the hall leading to the upper story, and on through passages to
the armoury.

In l. 141 (l. 128 in the Greek) the word translated "street" by Cowper is
usually rendered "corridor."

  F. M. S.


MADE AT THE TEMPLE PRESS LETCHWORTH GREAT BRITAIN




EVERYMAN'S LIBRARY

A LIST OF THE 812 VOLUMES ARRANGED UNDER AUTHORS

  _Anonymous works are given under titles._
  _Anthologies, etc., are arranged at the end of the list._


  Abbott's Rollo at Work, etc., 275

  Addison's Spectator, 164-167

  Æschylus' Lyrical Dramas, 62

  Æsop's and Other Fables, 657

  Aimard's The Indian Scout, 428

  Ainsworth's Tower of London, 400
    "         Old St. Paul's, 522
    "         Windsor Castle, 709
    "         The Admirable Crichton, 804

  A'Kempis' Imitation of Christ, 484

  Alcott's Little Women, and Good Wives, 248
    "      Little Men, 512

  Alpine Club. Peaks, Passes and Glaciers, 778

  Andersen's Fairy Tales, 4

  Anglo-Saxon Poetry, 794

  Anson's Voyages, 510

  Aristophanes' The Acharnians, etc., 344
    "           The Frogs, etc., 516

  Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, 547
    "         Politics, 605

  Armour's Fall of the Nibelung, 312

  Arnold's (Matthew) Essays, 115
    "                Poems, 334
    "                Study of Celtic Literature, etc., 458

  Aucassin and Nicolette, 497

  Augustine's (Saint) Confessions, 200

  Aurelius' (Marcus) Golden Book, 9

  Austen's (Jane) Sense and Sensibility, 21
    "             Pride and Prejudice, 22
    "             Mansfield Park, 23
    "             Emma, 24
    "             Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion, 25


  Bacon's Essays, 10
    "     Advancement of Learning, 719

  Bagehot's Literary Studies, 520, 521

  Baker's (Sir S. W.) Cast up by the Sea, 539

  Ballantyne's Coral Island, 245
    "          Martin Rattler, 246
    "          Ungava, 276

  Balzac's Wild Ass's Skin, 26
    "      Eugénie Grandet, 169
    "      Old Goriot, 170
    "      Atheist's Mass, etc., 229
    "      Christ in Flanders, etc., 284
    "      The Chouans, 285
    "      Quest of the Absolute, 286
    "      Cat and Racket, etc., 349
    "      Catherine de Medici, 419
    "      Cousin Pons, 463
    "      The Country Doctor, 520
    "      Rise and Fall of César Birotteau, 596
    "      Lost Illusions, 656
    "      The Country Parson, 686
    "      Ursule Mirouët, 733

  Barbusse's Under Fire, 798

  Barca's (Mme. C. de la) Life in Mexico, 664

  Bates' Naturalist on the Amazons, 446

  Beaumont and Fletcher's Select Plays, 506

  Beaumont's (Mary) Joan Seaton, 597

  Bede's Ecclesiastical History, etc., 479

  Belt's The Naturalist in Nicaragua, 561

  Berkeley's (Bishop) Principles of Human Knowledge, New Theory of Vision,
    etc., 483

  Berlioz (Hector), Life of, 602

  Binns' Life of Abraham Lincoln, 783

  Björnson's Plays, 625, 696

  Blackmore's Lorna Doone, 304
    "         Springhaven, 350

  Blackwell's Pioneer Work for Women, 667

  Blake's Poems and Prophecies, 792

  Boehme's The Signature of All Things, etc., 569

  Bonaventura's The Little Flowers, The Life of St. Francis, etc., 485

  Borrow's Wild Wales, 49
    "      Lavengro, 119
    "      Romany Rye, 120
    "      Bible in Spain, 151
    "      Gypsies in Spain, 697

  Boswell's Life of Johnson, 1, 2
    "       Tour in the Hebrides, etc., 387

  Boult's Asgard and Norse Heroes, 689

  Boyle's The Sceptical Chymist, 559

  Bright's (John) Speeches, 252

  Brontë's (A.) The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 685

  Brontë's (C.) Jane Eyre, 287
    "           Shirley, 288
    "           Villette, 351
    "           The Professor, 417

  Brontë's (E.) Wuthering Heights, 243

  Brooke's (Stopford A.) Theology in the English Poets, 493

  Brown's (Dr. John) Rab and His Friends, etc., 116

  Browne's (Frances) Grannie's Wonderful Chair, 112

  Browne's (Sir Thos.) Religio Medici, etc., 92

  Browning's Poems, 1833-1844, 41
    "          "    1844-1864, 42
    "        The Ring and the Book, 502

  Buchanan's Life and Adventures of Audubon, 601

  Bulfinch's The Age of Fable, 472
    "        Legends of Charlemagne, 556

  Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, 204

  Burke's American Speeches and Letters, 340
    "     Reflections on the French Revolution, etc., 460

  Burnet's History of His Own Times, 85

  Burney's Evelina, 352

  Burns' Poems and Songs, 94

  Burrell's Volume of Heroic Verse, 574

  Burton's East Africa, 500

  Butler's Analogy of Religion, 90

  Buxton's Memoirs, 773

  Byron's Complete Poetical and Dramatic Works, 486-488


  Cæsar's Gallic War, etc., 702

  Canton's Child's Book of Saints, 61

  Canton's Invisible Playmate, etc., 566

  Carlyle's French Revolution, 31, 32
    "       Letters, etc., of Cromwell, 266-268
    "       Sartor Resartus, 278
    "       Past and Present, 608
    "       Essays, 703, 704

  Castiglione's The Courtier, 807

  Cellini's Autobiography, 51

  Cervantes' Don Quixote, 385, 386

  Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, 307

  Chrétien de Troyes' Eric and Enid, 698

  Cibber's Apology for his Life, 668

  Cicero's Select Letters and Orations, 345

  Clarke's Tales from Chaucer, 537
    "      Shakespeare's Heroines, 109-111

  Cobbett's Rural Rides, 638, 639

  Coleridge's Biographia, 11
    "         Golden Book, 43
    "         Lectures on Shakespeare, 162

  Collins' Woman in White, 464

  Collodi's Pinocchio, 538

  Converse's Long Will, 328

  Cook's Voyages, 99

  Cooper's The Deerslayer, 77
    "      The Pathfinder, 78
    "      Last of the Mohicans, 79
    "      The Pioneer, 171
    "      The Prairie, 172

  Cousin's Biographical Dictionary of English Literature, 449

  Cowper's Letters, 774

  Cox's Tales of Ancient Greece, 721

  Craik's Manual of English Literature, 346

  Craik (Mrs.). _See_ Mulock.

  Creasy's Fifteen Decisive Battles, 300

  Crèvecœur's Letters from an American Farmer, 640

  Curtis's Prue and I, and Lotus, 418

  Curtis and Robinson's Fairy Tales from the Arabian Nights, 249


  Dana's Two Years Before the Mast, 588

  Dante's Divine Comedy, 308

  Darwin's Origin of Species, 811

  Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle, 104

  Dasent's The Story of Burnt Njal, 558

  Daudet's Tartarin of Tarascon, 423

  Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, 59
    "     Captain Singleton, 74
    "     Memoirs of a Cavalier, 283
    "     Journal of Plague, 289

  De Joinville's Memoirs of the Crusades, 333

  Demosthenes' Select Orations, 546

  Dennis' Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, 183, 184

  De Quincey's Lake Poets, 163
    "          Opium-Eater, 223
    "          English Mail Coach, etc., 609

  De Retz (Cardinal), Memoirs of, 735, 736

  Descartes' Discourse on Method, 570

  Dickens' Barnaby Rudge, 76
    "      Tale of Two Cities, 102
    "      Old Curiosity Shop, 173
    "      Oliver Twist, 233
    "      Great Expectations, 234
    "      Pickwick Papers, 235
    "      Bleak House, 236
    "      Sketches by Boz, 237
    "      Nicholas Nickleby, 238
    "      Christmas Books, 239
    "      Dombey & Son, 240
    "      Martin Chuzzlewit, 241
    "      David Copperfield, 242
    "      American Notes, 290
    "      Child's History of England, 291
    "      Hard Times, 292
    "      Little Dorrit, 293
    "      Our Mutual Friend, 294
    "      Christmas Stories, 414
    "      Uncommercial Traveller, 536
    "      Edwin Drood, 725
    "      Reprinted Pieces, 744

  Disraeli's Coningsby, 535

  Dixon's Fairy Tales from Arabian Nights, 249

  Dodge's Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates, 620

  Dostoieffsky's Crime and Punishment, 501
    "            The House of the Dead, or Prison Life in Siberia, 533
    "            Letters from the Underworld, etc., 654
    "            The Idiot, 682
    "            Poor Folk, and the Gambler, 711
    "            The Brothers Karamazov, 802, 803

  Dowden's Life of R. Browning, 701

  Dryden's Dramatic Essays, 568

  Dufferin's Letters from High Latitudes, 499

  Dumas' The Three Musketeers, 81
    "    The Black Tulip, 174
    "    Twenty Years After, 175
    "    Marguerite de Valois, 326
    "    The Count of Monte Cristo, 393, 394
    "    The Forty-Five, 420
    "    Chicot the Jester, 421
    "    Vicomte de Bragelonne, 593-595

  Dumas' Le Chevalier de Maison Rouge, 614

  Duruy's History of France, 737, 738


  Edgar's Cressy and Poictiers, 17
    "     Runnymede and Lincoln Fair, 320
    "     Heroes of England, 471

  Edgeworth's Castle Rackrent, etc., 410

  Edwardes and Spence's Dictionary of Non-Classical Mythology, 632

  Eliot's Adam Bede, 27
    "     Silas Marner, 121
    "     Romola, 231
    "     Mill on the Floss, 325
    "     Felix Holt, 353
    "     Scenes of Clerical Life, 468

  Elizabethan Drama (Minor), 491, 492

  Elyot's Gouernour, 227

  Emerson's Essays, 12
    "       Representative Men, 279
    "       Nature, Conduct of Life, etc., 322
    "       Society and Solitude, etc., 567
    "       Poems, 715

  Epictetus' Moral Discourses, etc., 404

  Erckmann-Chatrian's The Conscript and Waterloo, 354
    "                 Story of a Peasant, 706, 707

  Euripides' Plays, 63, 271

  Evans' Holy Graal, 445

  Evelyn's Diary, 220, 221

  Everyman, and Other Interludes, 381

  Ewing's (Mrs.) Mrs. Overtheway's Remembrances, and other Stories, 730
    "            Jackanapes, Daddy Darwin's Dovecot, and The Story of a
    Short Life, 731


  Faraday's Experimental Researches in Electricity, 576

  Fielding's Tom Jones, 355, 356
    "        Joseph Andrews, 467

  Finlay's Byzantine Empire, 33
    "      Greece under the Romans, 185

  Flaubert's Madame Bovary, 808

  Fletcher's (Beaumont and) Select Plays, 506

  Ford's Gatherings from Spain, 152

  Forster's Life of Dickens, 781, 782

  Fox's Journal, 754

  Fox's Selected Speeches, 759

  Francis' (Saint), The Little Flowers, etc., 485

  Franklin's Journey to Polar Sea, 447

  Freeman's Old English History for Children, 540

  Froissart's Chronicles, 57

  Froude's Short Studies, 13, 705
    "      Henry VIII., 372-374
    "      Edward VI., 375
    "      Mary Tudor, 477
    "      History of Queen Elizabeth's Reign, 583-587
    "      Life of Benjamin Disraeli, Lord Beaconsfield, 666


  Gait's Annals of the Parish, 427

  Galton's Inquiries into Human Faculty, 263

  Gaskell's Cranford, 83
    "       Charlotte Bronte, 318
    "       Sylvia's Lovers, 524
    "       Mary Barton, 598
    "       Cousin Phillis, etc., 615
    "       North and South, 680

  Gatty's Parables from Nature, 158

  Geoffrey of Monmouth's Histories of the Kings of Britain, 577

  George's Progress and Poverty, 560

  Gibbon's Roman Empire, 434-436, 474-476
    "      Autobiography, 511

  Gilfillan's Literary Portraits, 348

  Giraldus Cambrensis, 272

  Gleig's Life of Wellington, 341
    "     The Subaltern, 708

  Goethe's Faust (Parts I. and II.), 335
    "      Wilhelm Meister, 599, 600

  Gogol's Dead Souls, 726
    "     Taras Bulba, 740

  Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield, 295
    "         Poems and Plays, 415

  Gorki's Through Russia, 741

  Gotthelf's Ulric the Farm Servant, 228

  Gray's Poems and Letters, 628

  Green's Short History of the English People, 727, 728. The cloth
    edition is in 2 vols. or 1 vol. All other editions are in 1 vol.

  Grettir Saga, 699

  Grimms' Fairy Tales, 56

  Grote's History of Greece, 186-197

  Guest's (Lady) Mabinogion, 97


  Hahnemann's The Organon of the Rational Art of Healing, 663

  Hakluyt's Voyages, 264, 265, 313, 314, 338, 339, 388, 389

  Hallam's Constitutional History, 621-623

  Hamilton's The Federalist, 519

  Harte's Luck of Roaring Camp, 681

  Harvey's Circulation of Blood, 262

  Hawthorne's Wonder Book, 5
    "         The Scarlet Letter, 122
    "         House of Seven Gables, 176
    "         The Marble Faun, 424
    "         Twice Told Tales, 531
    "         Blithedale Romance, 592

  Hazlitt's Shakespeare's Characters, 65
    "       Table Talk, 321
    "       Lectures, 411
    "       Spirit of the Age and Lectures on English Poets, 459

  Hebbel's Plays, 694

  Heimskringla, 717

  Helps' (Sir Arthur) Life of Columbus, 332

  Herbert's Temple, 309

  Herodotus (Rawlinson's), 405, 406

  Herrick's Hesperides, 310

  Hobbes' Leviathan, 691

  Holinshed's Chronicle, 800

  Holmes' Life of Mozart, 564

  Holmes' (O. W.) Autocrat, 66
    "             Professor, 67
    "             Poet, 68

  Homer's Iliad, 453
    "     Odyssey, 454

  Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, 201, 202

  Horace's Complete Poetical Works, 515

  Houghton's Life and Letters of Keats, 801

  Hughes' Tom Brown's Schooldays, 58

  Hugo's (Victor) Les Misérables, 363, 364
   "              Notre Dame, 422
   "              Toilers of the Sea, 509

  Hume's Treatise of Human Nature, etc., 548, 549

  Hutchinson's (Col.) Memoirs, 317

  Hutchinson's (W. M. L.) Muses' Pageant, 581, 606, 671

  Huxley's Man's Place in Nature, 47
    "      Select Lectures and Lay Sermons, 498


  Ibsen's The Doll's House, etc., 494
    "     Ghosts, etc., 552
    "     Pretenders, Pillars of Society, etc., 659
    "     Brand, 716
    "     Lady Inger, etc., 729
    "     Peer Gynt, 747

  Ingelow's Mopsa the Fairy, 619

  Ingram's Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 624

  Irving's Sketch Book, 117
    "      Conquest of Granada, 478
    "      Life of Mahomet, 513


  James' (G. P. R.) Richelieu, 357

  James (Wm.), Selections from, 739

  Johnson's (Dr.) Lives of the Poets, 770-771

  Johnson's (R. B.) Book of English Ballads, 572

  Jonson's (Ben) Plays, 489, 490

  Josephus' Wars of the Jews, 712


  Kalidasa's Shakuntala, 629

  Keats' Poems, 101

  Keble's Christian Year, 690

  King's Life of Mazzini, 562

  Kinglake's Eothen, 337

  Kingsley's (Chas.) Westward Ho!, 20
    "                Heroes, 113
    "                Hypatia, 230
    "                Water Babies and Glaucus, 277
    "                Hereward the Wake, 296
    "                Alton Locke, 462
    "                Yeast, 611
    "                Madam How and Lady Why, 777
    "                Poems, 793

  Kingsley's (Henry) Ravenshoe, 28
    "                Geoffrey Hamlyn, 416

  Kingston's Peter the Whaler, 6
    "        Three Midshipmen, 7

  Kirby's Kalevala, 259-60

  Koran, 380


  Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare, 8
    "    Essays of Elia, 14
    "    Letters, 342, 343

  Lane's Modern Egyptians, 315

  Langland's Piers Plowman, 571

  Latimer's Sermons, 40

  Law's Serious Call, 91

  Layamon's (Wace and) Arthurian Chronicles, 578

  Lear (and others), A Book of Nonsense, 806

  Le Sage's Gil Blas, 437, 438

  Leslie's Memoirs of John Constable, 563

  Lever's Harry Lorrequer, 177

  Lewes' Life of Goethe, 269

  Lincoln's Speeches, etc., 206

  Livy's History of Rome, 603, 669, 670, 749, 755, 756

  Locke's Civil Government, 751

  Lockhart's Life of Napoleon, 3
    "        Life of Scott, 55
    "        Burns, 156

  Longfellow's Poems, 382

  Lönnrott's Kalevala, 259, 260

  Lover's Handy Andy, 178

  Lowell's Among My Books, 607

  Lucretius: Of the Nature of Things, 750

  Lützow's History of Bohemia, 432

  Lyell's Antiquity of Man, 700

  Lytton's Harold, 15
    "      Last of the Barons, 18
    "      Last Days of Pompeii, 80
    "      Pilgrims of the Rhine, 390
    "      Rienzi, 532


  Macaulay's England, 34-36
    "        Essays, 225, 226
    "        Speeches on Politics, etc., 399
    "        Miscellaneous Essays, 439

  MacDonald's Sir Gibbie, 678
    "         Phantastes, 732

  Machiavelli's Prince, 280
    "           Florence, 376

  Maine's Ancient Law, 734

  Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur, 45, 46

  Malthus on the Principles of Population, 692, 693

  Mandeville's Travels, 812

  Manning's Sir Thomas More, 19
    "       Mary Powell, and Deborah's Diary, 324

  Marcus Aurelius' Golden Book, 9

  Marlowe's Plays and Poems, 383

  Marryat's Mr. Midshipman Easy, 82
    "       Little Savage, 159
    "       Masterman Ready, 160
    "       Peter Simple, 232
    "       Children of New Forest, 247
    "       Percival Keene, 358
    "       Settlers in Canada, 370
    "       King's Own, 580

  Marryat's Jacob Faithful, 618

  Martineau's Feats on the Fjords, 429

  Martinengo-Cesaresco's Folk-Lore and Other Essays, 673

  Mason's French Mediaeval Romances, 557

  Maurice's Kingdom of Christ, 146, 147

  Mazzini's Duties of Man, etc., 224

  Melville's Moby Dick, 179
    "        Typee, 180
    "        Omoo, 297

  Merivale's History of Rome, 433

  Mignet's French Revolution, 713

  Mill's Utilitarianism, Liberty, Representative Government, 482

  Miller's Old Red Sandstone, 103

  Milman's History of the Jews, 377, 378

  Milton's Areopagitica and other Prose Works, 795

  Milton's Poems, 384

  Mommsen's History of Rome, 542-545

  Montagu's (Lady) Letters, 69

  Montaigne, Florio's, 440-442

  More's Utopia, and Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation, 461

  Morier's Hajji Baba, 679

  Morris' (Wm.) Early Romances, 261
    "           Life and Death of Jason, 575

  Motley's Dutch Republic, 86-88

  Mulock's John Halifax, 123


  Neale's Fall of Constantinople, 655

  Newcastle's (Margaret, Duchess of) Life of the First Duke of Newcastle,
    etc., 722

  Newman's Apologia Pro Vita Sua, 636
    "      On the Scope and Nature of University Education, and a Paper
    on Christianity and Scientific Investigation, 723


  Oliphant's Salem Chapel, 244

  Osborne (Dorothy), Letters of, 674

  Owen's A New View of Society, etc., 799


  Paine's Rights of Man, 718

  Palgrave's Golden Treasury, 96

  Paltock's Peter Wilkins, 676

  Park (Mungo), Travels of, 205

  Parkman's Conspiracy of Pontiac, 302, 303

  Parry's Letters of Dorothy Osborne, 674

  Paston Letters, 752, 753

  Paton's Two Morte D'Arthur Romances, 634

  Peacock's Headlong Hall, 327

  Penn's The Peace of Europe, Some Fruits of Solitude, etc., 724

  Pepys' Diary, 53, 54

  Percy's Reliques, 148, 149

  Pitt's Orations, 145

  Plato's Republic, 64
    "     Dialogues, 456, 457

  Plutarch's Lives, 407-409
    "        Moralia, 565

  Poe's Tales of Mystery and Imagination, 336

  Poe's Poems and Essays, 791

  Polo's (Marco) Travels, 306

  Pope's Complete Poetical Works, 760

  Prescott's Conquest of Peru, 301
    "        Conquest of Mexico, 397, 398

  Procter's Legends and Lyrics, 150


  Ramayana and Mahabharata, 403

  Rawlinson's Herodotus, 405, 406

  Reade's The Cloister and the Hearth, 29
    "     Peg Woffington, 299

  Reid's (Mayne) Boy Hunters of the Mississippi, 582
    "            The Boy Slaves, 797

  Renan's Life of Jesus, 805

  Restoration Plays, 604

  Reynolds' Discourses, 118

  Rhys' Fairy Gold, 157
    "   New Golden Treasury, 695
    "   Anthology of British Historical Speeches and Orations, 714
    "   Political Liberty, 745
    "   Golden Treasury of Longer Poems, 746
    "   Prelude to Poetry, 789
    "   Mother Goose, 473

  Ricardo's Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, 590

  Richardson's Pamela, 683, 684

  Roberts' (Morley) Western Avernus, 762

  Robertson's Religion and Life, 37
    "         Christian Doctrine, 38
    "         Bible Subjects, 39

  Robinson's (Wade) Sermons, 637

  Roget's Thesaurus, 630, 631

  Rossetti's (D. G.) Poems, 627

  Rousseau's Emile, 518
    "        Social Contract and Other Essays, 660

  Ruskin's Seven Lamps of Architecture, 207
    "      Modern Painters, 208-212
    "      Stones of Venice, 213-215
    "      Unto this Last, etc., 216
    "      Elements of Drawing, etc., 217
    "      Pre-Raphaelitism, etc., 218
    "      Sesame and Lilies, 219
    "      Ethics of the Dust, 282
    "      Crown of Wild Olive, and Cestus of Aglaia, 323
    "      Time and Tide, with other Essays, 450
    "      The Two Boyhoods, 688

  Russell's Life of Gladstone, 661

  Russian Short Stories, 758


  Sand's (George) The Devil's Pool, and François the Waif, 534

  Scheffel's Ekkehard: A Tale of the 10th Century, 529

  Scott's (M.) Tom Cringle's Log, 710

  Scott's (Sir W.) Ivanhoe, 16
    "              Fortunes of Nigel, 71
    "              Woodstock, 72
    "              Waverley, 75
    "              The Abbot, 124
    "              Anne of Geierstein, 125
    "              The Antiquary, 126
    "              Highland Widow, and Betrothed, 127
    "              Black Dwarf, Legend of Montrose, 128
    "              Bride of Lammermoor, 129
    "              Castle Dangerous, Surgeon's Daughter, 130
    "              Robert of Paris, 131
    "              Fair Maid of Perth, 132
    "              Guy Mannering, 133
    "              Heart of Midlothian, 134
    "              Kenilworth, 135
    "              The Monastery, 136
    "              Old Mortality, 137
    "              Peveril of the Peak, 138
    "              The Pirate, 139
    "              Quentin Durward, 140,
    "              Redgauntlet, 141
    "              Rob Roy, 142
    "              St. Ronan's Well, 143
    "              The Talisman, 144
    "              Lives of the Novelists, 331
    "              Poems and Plays, 550, 551

  Seebohm's Oxford Reformers, 665

  Seeley's Ecce Homo, 305

  Sewell's (Anna) Black Beauty, 748

  Shakespeare's Comedies, 153
    "           Histories, etc., 154
    "           Tragedies, 155

  Shelley's Poetical Works, 257, 258

  Shelley's (Mrs.) Frankenstein, 616

  Sheppard's Charles Auchester, 505

  Sheridan's Plays, 95

  Sismondi's Italian Republics, 250

  Smeaton's Life of Shakespeare, 514

  Smith's Wealth of Nations, 412, 413

  Smith's (George) Life of Wm. Carey, 395

  Smith's (Sir Wm.) Smaller Classical Dictionary, 495

  Smollett's Roderick Random, 790

  Sophocles, Young's, 114

  Southey's Life of Nelson, 52

  Speke's Source of the Nile, 50

  Spence's Dictionary of Non-Classical Mythology, 632

  Spencer's (Herbert) Essays on Education, 504

  Spenser's Faerie Queene, 443, 444

  Spinoza's Ethics, etc., 481

  Spyri's Heidi, 431

  Stanley's Memorials of Canterbury, 89
    "       Eastern Church, 251

  Steele's The Spectator, 164-167

  Sterne's Tristram Shandy, 617

  Sterne's Sentimental Journey and Journal to Eliza, 796

  Stevenson's Treasure Island and Kidnapped, 763
    "         Master of Ballantrae and The Black Arrow, 764
    "         Virginibus Puerisque and Familiar Studies of Men and
    Books, 765
    "         An Inland Voyage, Travels with a Donkey, and Silverado
    Squatters, 766
    "         Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Merry Men, etc., 767
    "         Poems, 768
    "         In the South Seas and Island Nights' Entertainments, 769

  St. Francis, The Little Flowers of, etc., 485

  Stopford Brooke's Theology in the English Poets, 493

  Stow's Survey of London, 589

  Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, 371

  Strickland's Queen Elizabeth, 100

  Swedenborg's Heaven and Hell, 379
    "          Divine Love and Wisdom, 635
    "          Divine Providence, 658

  Swift's Gulliver's Travels, 60
    "     Journal to Stella, 757
    "     Tale of a Tub, etc., 347

  Swiss Family Robinson, 430


  Tacitus' Annals, 273
    "      Agricola and Germania,274

  Taylor's Words and Places, 517

  Tennyson's Poems, 44, 626

  Thackeray's Esmond, 73
    "         Vanity Fair, 298
    "         Christmas Books, 359
    "         Pendennis, 425, 426
    "         Newcomes, 465, 466
    "         The Virginians, 507, 508
    "         English Humorists, and The Four Georges, 610
    "         Roundabout Papers, 687

  Thierry's Norman Conquest, 198, 199

  Thoreau's Walden, 281

  Thucydides' Peloponnesian War, 455

  Tolstoy's Master and Man, and Other Parables and Tales, 469
    "       War and Peace, 525-527
    "       Childhood, Boyhood and Youth, 591
    "       Anna Karenina, 612, 613

  Trench's On the Study of Words and English Past and Present, 788

  Trollope's Barchester Towers, 30
    "        Framley Parsonage, 181
    "        Golden Lion of Granpere, 701
    "        The Warden, 182
    "        Dr. Thorne, 360
    "        Small House at Allington, 361
    "        Last Chronicles of Barset, 391, 392

  Trotter's The Bayard of India, 396
    "       Hodson, of Hodson's Horse, 401
    "       Warren Hastings, 452

  Turgeniev's Virgin Soil, 528
    "         Liza, 677
    "         Fathers and Sons, 742

  Tyndall's Glaciers of the Alps, 98

  Tytler's Principles of Translation, 168


  Vasari's Lives of the Painters, 784-7

  Verne's (Jules) Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, 319
    "             Dropped from the Clouds, 367
    "             Abandoned, 368
    "             The Secret of the Island, 369
    "             Five Weeks in a Balloon and Around the World in Eighty
    Days, 779

  Virgil's Æneid, 161
    "      Eclogues and Georgics, 222

  Voltaire's Life of Charles XII., 270
    "        Age of Louis XIV., 780


  Wace and Layamon's Arthurian Chronicles, 578

  Walpole's Letters, 775

  Walton's Compleat Angler, 70

  Waterton's Wanderings in South America, 772

  Wesley's Journal, 105-108

  White's Selborne, 48

  Whitman's Leaves of Grass (I.) and Democratic Vistas, etc., 573

  Whyte-Melville's Gladiators, 523

  Wood's (Mrs. Henry) The Channings, 84

  Woolman's Journal, etc., 402

  Wordsworth's Shorter Poems, 203
    "          Longer Poems, 311

  Wright's An Encyclopædia of Gardening, 555


  Xenophon's Cyropædia, 672


  Yellow Book, 503

  Yonge's The Dove in the Eagle's Nest, 329
    "     The Book of Golden Deeds, 330
    "     The Heir of Redclyffe, 362
    "     The Little Duke, 470
    "     The Lances of Lynwood, 579

  Young's (Arthur) Travels in France and Italy, 720

  Young's (Sir George) Sophocles, 114


  A Century of Essays. An Anthology, 653

  A Dictionary of Dates, 554

  A Dictionary of Quotations and Proverbs, 809-810

  An Anthology of English Prose: From Bede to Stevenson, 675

  Ancient Hebrew Literature, 4 vols., 253-256

  Annals of Fairyland, 365, 366, 541

  Atlas of Classical Geography, 451

  English Short Stories. An Anthology, 743

  Everyman's English Dictionary, 776

  Literary and Historical Atlases: Europe, 496; America, 553; Asia, 633;
    Africa and Australasia, 662

  The New Testament, 93

  1st and 2nd Prayer Books of King Edward VI., 448

       *       *       *       *       *

  NOTE--The following numbers are at present out of print:
  110, 111, 146, 228, 244, 275, 390, 418, 597

  LONDON: J. M. DENT & SONS LTD.
  NEW YORK: E. P. DUTTON & CO.




{Transcriber's note:

The spelling and hyphenation in the original are inconsistent, and have
not been changed. A few obvious typographical errors have been corrected,
as listed below.

Book III, line 447. "My frend's own son" no change made.

Book IV, line 454. "thou must be ideot born" no change made.

Book VII, line 294. "Saidst not" no change made.

Book IX, Argument. "binds him while he sleeps" changed to "blinds him
while he sleeps".

Book IX, line 428, footnote. "It is certian" changed to "It is certain".

Book XV, line 276. Footnote marker missing from original.

Book XVII, line 378. "in one moment thou shouldst" no change made.

Book XVII, line 508. "(whencesoe'er they came" closing bracket added.

Book XVII, line 616. "thou shouldst hear" no change made.

Book XIX, line 317. "(with these hands" closing bracket added.

Book XXI, line 468. "and re-entring fill'd" no change made.

Book XXIII, line 209. "with his own bands" changed to "with his own
hands".

Book XXIV, line 629. "his smouldring bolt" no change made.

Note II. "ἀβληχρός" changed to "ἀβληχρὸς".

}





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